| DUBAI, April 24
DUBAI, April 24 The Iranian oil ministry said on
Tuesday its IT systems had suffered no lasting damage from a
suspected cyber attack, but its experts would require two or
three days to investigate and address the impact of the virus.
The virus hit the internet and communications systems of the
oil ministry and national oil company late on Sunday, forcing
Iran to disconnect the control systems of Kharg Island, which
handles the vast majority of Iran's crude exports, and a number
of other oil facilities.
"Fortunately, because of the rapid measures taken by our
experts, this ministry has sustained no damage to its computer
data," the head of the ministry's civil defence team, Hamdullah
Iranian state news agency IRNA quoted him as saying the
cause of the problem was being identified and it would take two
to three days for the issue to be resolved.
"All units with the oil industry back up their data on a
daily and long-term basis. But in cases where information has
been impaired to any extent, the backup data is being replaced,"
The oil ministry set up a crisis unit and disconnected IT
systems at its headquarters, the national oil company and at its
oil terminals but said all operations units continued to
function normally. An industry source said oil was being loaded
at Kharg island on Tuesday.
"Fortunately our international oil selling division has not
been affected," IRNA quoted a senior ministry official as saying
in an earlier report. "There is no panic, but this shows we have
shortcomings in our security systems."
The virus is likely to draw comparisons with the Stuxnet
computer worm which affected Iranian nuclear facilities in
Iranian officials have accused the United States and Israel
of trying to sabotage its nuclear programme through viruses like
Security specialists say the latest problems in Iran's IT
systems could be an attempt to impair Iran's ability to trade in
oil, or might even have been a technical failure.
The United States and its allies have imposed increasingly
tough sanctions against Iran's oil industry over its nuclear
programme, which they believe is geared towards producing
nuclear bombs. Iran says the nuclear programme is for peaceful
EU member states have significantly reduced any orders of
Iranian oil in anticipation of a total ban set to be implemented
across the European Union in July.
(Additional reporting by Humeyra Pamuk; Editing by Myra