After vowing to ratchet up Internet security nationwide last week, Iran says it has thwarted a digital attack aimed at a computer network essential to its offshore drilling program, according to an Iranian news report.
Mohammad Reza Golshani told the Iranian Students News Agency that only the rigs’ communications were affected. After a separate attack in April, officials walled off the network that controls crude-oil operations from the Internet. Golshani said operations on the offshore drilling platforms were normal.
Crude-oil exports account for 80 percent of Iran’s foreign revenue, the Associated Press reports.
Golshani blamed Israel for the attack, but said it came through China. Both Israel and the United States have attacked Iranian computer networks in the past, most notably when the countries infected the network of a uranium enrichment facility with a destructive worm called Stuxnet in 2010.
Iran itself has been accused of attacking the digital networks of Western targets, including a campaign aimed at top U.S. banks in September.
Last month, Iranians received a text message to inform them that Gmail and the secure version of Google Search would be "filtered" indefinitely. This was reportedly done in response to the "Innocence of Muslims" film on YouTube that sent large parts of the Muslim world into the streets to express their outrage and protest.
Earlier this month, the Islamic Republic said it would be "forced" to "limit the Internet" in response to "constant cyber attacks" that caused the nation's Internet to run too slowly.
Iran has become increasingly vocal in response to real and alleged digital attacks from abroad. Citizens intermittently find themselves without access to many of the sites the rest of the world takes for granted, like YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.
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