x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

UAE on high alert for oil-protest hackers

A hacking activist group calling themselves Anonymous has targeted companies in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait.

DUBAI // A cyber attack launched against the oil industry has not affected UAE companies, but security experts remain on high alert.
The #OpPetrol campaign was launched on June 20 by hacking-activist group Anonymous.
It claims to be targeting oil companies in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait in protest against oil products being traded in US dollars instead of the currency of the country it originates from.
Internet security company Trend Micro said Anonymous had already compromised about 1,000 websites, 35,000 email credentials and more than 100,000 Facebook accounts as a part of the #OpPetrol operation.
Government websites in Kuwait, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia have also been taken offline.
"They might be trying to protect themselves and disconnect themselves and that reduces the risk," said Niraj Mathur, a security practice manager at Gulf Business Machines in Dubai.
"We can't say if it's a precaution or they've actually been  attacked."
If companies had been attacked, he added, they were unlikely to publicise it.
Richard Sheng, senior director of enterprise security at Trend Micro Asia Pacific, said the IT threat landscape was evolving.
"Cyber attacks are now targeted, customised and persistent," he said.
"While hacktivists makes announcements of their attack campaign, most cybercrimes and espionage goes undetected by conventional security controls such as firewall, antivirus or intrusion detection systems.
"Organisations need to assume they will be compromised and redefine their IT security with that mental model."
eharnan@thenational.ae