Regional oil and gas companies under threat by hacktivists

June 18, 2014 12:45 pm

Cyber attack threats by a politically motivated group of hacktivists are being closely monitored by Symantec Managed Security Services (MSS).

Symantec security experts believe that hacktivists from ‘Anonymous’, who are mostly based in the Middle East, will target oil, gas and energy companies, as well as the regional petroleum industry.

According to Symantec, Operation Petrol will take place before, during and after June 20 across different time zones. “Anonymous disagrees with the US dollar being used as the currency to buy and sell oil,” the Symantec Connect blog states, but admits that there are limited details related to specific tools that will be used as part of the operation. “Denial-of-service attacks may be a diversion from real attacks: fraudulent/illegal wire transfers,” it adds.

Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait are believed to be targets, and these countries house some of the region’s most prominent oil and gas firms, such as Qatar Petroleum, Saudi Aramco, ADNOC and ENOC, among others.

Symantec, however, is quick to add that the fact that the threat has been made public could just be a way to gain media attention.

“Public announcements by these groups are often used as a means to gain notoriety or media attention and can be of highly volatile credibility. These attacks are typically low scale, comprising DDoS activity against publicly accessible web servers, website defacement efforts or data exploitation,” the blog states, adding that: “Symantec MSS does take these threats seriously and has detection in place.”

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