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Tue 11 Dec 2018 07:57 AM

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UAE and Saudi servers targeted in cyberattack against Saipem

Milan-based oil-services company Saipem said attackers were seeking to obtain administrative data

UAE and Saudi servers targeted in cyberattack against Saipem
Piasere said servers in the UAE and Saudi Arabia were hit the most, with attackers seeking to obtain administrative data. The only attack in Europe was in Aberdeen, Scotland, where the company employs fewer than 30 people.

The Italian oil-services company Saipem is still assessing the scope and impact of a cyberattack that targeted its servers in the Middle East, according to the head of digital and innovation.

“We’re keeping the servers down to understand what happened,” Mauro Piasere said by phone Monday. Once that’s clear “we will be able to load the backup.”

The Milan-based company said earlier Monday it had detected a cyberattack and is taking actions to restore normal activities, without giving further details.

Piasere said servers in the UAE and Saudi Arabia were hit the most, with attackers seeking to obtain administrative data. The only attack in Europe was in Aberdeen, Scotland, where the company employs fewer than 30 people.

It’s still unclear where the attack originated or who was behind it, Piasere said.

There are numerous potential perpetrators.

“As a significant international oil and gas leader, Saipem is part of one of Italy’s core critical infrastructures, and this positioning attracts a perfect storm of both financially motivated and state-sponsored attackers,” said Stefano Zanero, a professor of computer security at the Italian university Politecnico di Milano.

“Saudi Arabia, and the Middle East in general, is a very sensitive region which could point to either economic espionage, state-sponsored information gathering or even an hacktivism-inspired incident,” Zanero said.

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