The world’s most valuable oil producer said that the documents were leaked after reports that hackers demanded a ransom of $50 million.
Saudi Aramco confirmed that some company documents were leaked after hackers reportedly asked the world’s most valuable oil producer to pay a ransom of US$50 million.
“Saudi Aramco recently realized that it indirectly released a limited amount of company data held by third-party contractors,” the Middle Eastern oil giant said in an email on Wednesday. “We confirm that the release of the data is not due to damage to our system and has no impact on our operations. The company continues to maintain a robust network security posture.”
The Associated Press earlier reported that a blackmailer held 1 terabyte of data from Saudi Arabian Oil Company and cited web pages it visited on the dark web. The Associated Press stated that the state-owned drilling company has the opportunity to delete data with $50 million in cryptocurrency.
Cyber attacks in the global energy industry are on the rise, and Colonial Pipeline has become the most high-profile incident recently. The consultant said that the oil and gas industry, including companies that own oil wells, pipelines and refineries, has long been lagging behind in safety spending.
In 2012, Saudi Arabia accused unidentified people in Saudi Arabia of hacking the oil giant with the aim of disrupting the production of the world’s largest crude oil exporter. The so-called “spear phishing” attack destroyed more than 30,000 computers in a matter of hours. A spokesperson for the Ministry of the Interior declined to disclose any of the “several foreign countries” that launched the attack.
PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP stated in a 2016 report that the Middle East has previously attracted some of the most expensive hacker attacks in the world.
Energy companies from power companies to grid operators to pipeline operators have warned that cyber attacks are becoming more common. PJM Interconnection LLC, the largest grid operator in the United States, has warned regulators that it is facing more and more attacks.