Iran detects malware in petrochemical plants, rejects link to recent fires

August 28, 2016 - 12:47

TEHRAN – Head of Iran's civilian defense said on Saturday that the country has detected and removed malicious software from its petrochemical units, rejecting links to recent fires in some of the country’s petrochemical facilities, Mehr reported.

“Necessary defensive measures were taken” after the malware was detected and removed, according to brigadier general Gholam-Reza Jalali. 
Over the past two months, a number of Iran’s petrochemical units, including Imam Khomeini as the biggest one, stopped operating wholly or partially due to fires.  
The issue is still being probed by Iranian officials and expert teams. Initial informal speculations linked the fires to cyber-attacks. 
Last week, Iran’s National Cyberspace Council announced that it was investigating whether the recent fires triggered in petrochemical plants were caused by a cyber attack.
Following the investigations, Jalali said while the malicious software affected two petrochemical complexes, it did not play a role in the recent fires because it was inactive at the time.
According to the official, the malware packages petrochemical units had purchased from abroad were to blame. 
“Investigations indicated that the industrial software packages, bought from foreign countries, were already corrupted,” he added.
Iran has been increasingly afflicted with the threat of cyber attacks by foreign countries. 
Learning from the cyber attack by the U.S. and Israel on its nuclear facilities in 2009, what came to be known as Stuxnet virus, the country has been upgrading its cyber security capabilities in recent years, developing homegrown firewalls for its sensitive facilities, including nuclear, military, and economy sites. 

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