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Cyber Attacks Target Saudi Arabia’s State Agencies, Companies

  • Zainab Fattah
  • January 26 2017, 6:30am EST
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(Bloomberg) -- Saudi Arabia’s Labor Ministry said its Hadaf human resources development fund was the latest victim of hackers who have been attacking the kingdom’s government agencies and companies.

The ministry’s data and client information were not affected, state-owned Al Ekhbariya TV said, citing ministry spokesman Khalid Aba Al-Khail. The “Shamoon 2” virus hit various government agencies and the private sector, Al Ekhbariya reported, citing cyber security expert Hani Alzaid, who estimated more than 15 state bodies and corporations were targeted.

A cyber security center has been in contact with various entities targeted by the attacks and a statement is to be issued in the coming hours. Locating the virus and disabling it will take some time, Al Ekhbariya reported.

Saudi state TV didn’t assign blame for the attacks, but regional rival Iran, which is conducting proxy wars with Saudi Arabia in Yemen and Syria, is suspected of being behind multiple cyber attacks on the desert kingdom. U.S. officials have said Iran was behind the 2012 hack of Saudi Aramco, the world’s biggest oil exporter, and investigators also suspect Iranian involvement in the November assault on Saudi government bodies. The kingdom’s General Authority of Civil Aviation was also targeted in the past.

--With assistance from Vivian Nereim

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