WASHINGTON Oct 11 The "Shamoon" virus that
attacked Saudi Arabia's state oil company, ARAMCO, was probably
the most destructive attack the business s e ctor has seen to
date, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said on Thursday.
Addressing business leaders in New York, Panetta described
the virus as sophisticated and noted that a similar attack days
later struck Qatar's natural gas firm, Rasgas.
"More than 30,000 computers that it infected (at ARAMCO)
were rendered useless, and had to be replaced," he said.
He said Shamoon included a routine called a "wiper," coded
to self-execute, which replaced crucial system files with an
image of a burning U.S. flag. It also overwrote all the real
data on the machine with what he called garbage data.
"Imagine the impact an attack like this would have on your
company," Panetta said, as he called for steps to bolster the
nation's cyber defenses.