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Saudi Aramco Facing $50m Cyber Extortion Over Leaked Data

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The world’s most valuable oil producer Saudi Aramco has confirmed to the BBC that company data has been leaked from one of its contractors.

In May, the Colonial Pipeline in the US was hit by a ransomware cyber-attack. The company has already been criticised several times over its poor cybersecurity. The files are now being used to obtain $50 million from the company.

The firm, Aramco, said in an emailed statement to the BBC that, “We have recently become aware of the fact that an indirect release of a limited amount of company data which was held by a third-party contractors. We confirm that the release of data was not due to breach of our systems, has no impact on our operations and the company continues to maintain a robust cybersecurity posture.”

The firm did not mention which contractor has been affected or which one has been hacked or whether the files were leaked in some other way. According to the Associated Press (AP), approximately 1 terabyte of the Saudi Arabian energy giant’s data is being held by extortionists within an encrypted network which is accessible only through specialised anonymity-providing tools.

The reports from AP stated that the page asked for $50 million in cryptocurrency for the deletion of all the data even though it is unclear who is behind the ransom plot.

This is not the first cyber attack on the oil and gas industry. In 2012, the firm was the target of a data-related attack by the virus known as Shamoon. A cyber attack this year showed the vulnerabilities of the company’s computer systems which have been pointed out several times by experts.

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