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Saudi Aramco faces $50 million cyber extortion over data leak

Saudi Aramco plans to manufacture hydrogen-powered vehicles

On Wednesday evening, the Associated Press “AP” reported that Saudi Aramco is facing electronic blackmail worth $50 million due to a data leak.

 “AP” reported that the giant oil company in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia acknowledged on Wednesday that the leaked data from the company most likely came from one of its contractors.

Aramco told “AP” that it “recently learned of the indirect release of a limited amount of company data held by third-party contractors.”

The company did not say which contractors found themselves harmed and whether that contractor was hacked or whether the information was leaked in another way.

Aramco asserted that the release of the data was not due to a breach of its systems, and that it has no impact on its operations, explaining that the company continues to maintain a strong cyber security position.

 “AP” reported that one of the pages accessed by the Darknet showed that the blackmailer possessed 1 terabyte of Aramco data.

The agency noted that the page offered the company an opportunity to delete the data in exchange for $50 million in crypto currency, and it was not yet clear who was behind the ransom plot.

AP explained that Aramco was targeted by a cyber attack in 2012 called the “Shamoon” virus, which deleted hard drives and then displayed an image of a burning American flag on computer screens. The attack forced Aramco to close its network and destroy more than 30,000 computers.

According to the same agency, in 2017, another virus spread across the kingdom and disrupted computers in the “Sadara” project, a joint venture between Aramco and officials of the Michigan-based Dow Chemical Company, and they warned at the time that the virus may be another version of Shamoon.

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