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updated 4/23/2012 11:52:29 AM ET 2012-04-23T15:52:29

Iran took its principal oil terminal offline after a cyberattack disrupted several key computer networks used to control the country's oil exports, Iran's Mehr News Agency reported.

The websites of the Iranian Oil Ministry, the National Iranian Oil Co. "and a number of other companies affiliated with the ministry" were the targets of yesterday's (April 22) malware attack, the Mehr News Agency  said.

The weapon, which the MNA called only "a computer worm," targeted the oil companies' internal computer networks, forcing authorities to disconnect some of the terminals controlled by those systems as a precaution, including machines on Kharg Island, a terminal that handles about 90 percent of Iran's oil exports.

[Power Grids, Oil Refineries Face 'Staggering Level of Cyberattacks']

The Mehr News Agency said the malware was detected before it could infect the systems, and that oil production has not been affected and, according to an unidentified oil ministry source, the cyberattack "caused no damage."

The Iranian Oil Ministry website was back online today, but as of 11:30 a.m. EST, the National Iranian Oil Co. website was still down.

Iran may not have completely repelled the attack; an Iranian oil ministry spokesperson told BBC News  that data about users of the oil ministry websites had been stolen as a result of the attack.

Iran put its "Cyber Crisis Committee" on the case to handle the threat, BBC News said. The committee was built following the emergence of Stuxnet, the computer worm that in 2010 crippled an Iranian nuclear-fuel processing plant, and sparked worldwide fear that oil refineries and other critical infrastructure facilities were vulnerable to attack. 

© 2012 SecurityNewsDaily. All rights reserved

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