Hackers target Saudi government websites

State news agency says "coordinated and simultaneous" attacks traced to IP addresses from a number of countries.

    Hackers target Saudi government websites
    A cyber attack on Saudi Aramco, the world's biggest oil company, damaged almost 30,000 computers last year [AP]

    Several government websites in Saudi Arabia were hacked in a series of heavy cyber attacks from overseas in recent days, disabling them briefly until the attacks were repelled, the government has said.

    An investigation traced the "coordinated and simultaneous attacks" to hundreds of Internet protocol addresses in a number of countries, an unnamed source at the Saudi Interior Ministry told SPA, the country's state news agency.

    The interior ministry website crashed on Wednesday after it received a "huge amount" of service requests, but was back online less than two hours later after the "necessary technical drills" were performed to counter the attack, the source said.

    The report made no mention of a possible motive.

    Businesses, government agencies and critical infrastructure operators face unprecedented challenges from increasingly sophisticated cyber attacks launched by criminals, hacker activists and foreign governments.

    An attack last year on national oil company Saudi Aramco, the world's biggest oil company, damaged almost 30,000 computers and was one of the most destructive cyber strikes conducted against a single business.

    That attack used a computer virus known as Shamoon. A group that claimed responsibility said Saudi Aramco was the main source of income for the Saudi government, which it blamed for "crimes and atrocities" in several countries including Syria and Bahrain.

    On Friday, the website and Twitter feed of the Financial Times newspaper were hacked, apparently by the "Syrian Electronic Army", a group of online activists who claim that they support Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    How different voting systems work around the world

    How different voting systems work around the world

    Nearly two billion voters in 52 countries around the world will head to the polls this year to elect their leaders.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    The great plunder: Nepal's stolen treasures

    The great plunder: Nepal's stolen treasures

    How the art world's hunger for ancient artefacts is destroying a centuries-old culture. A journey across the Himalayas.