Cyber Attack Targets Italian Oil-Services Firm Saipem

By Chiara Albanese and | December 11, 2018

The Italian oil-services company Saipem SpA is still assessing the scope and impact of a cyber attack that targeted its servers in the Middle East, according to the company’s head of digital and innovation.

“We’re keeping the servers down to understand what happened,” Mauro Piasere said by phone. “We are working to back them up as soon as possible, as of today, we have no evidence data was stolen.”

A spokesman for the Milan-based company said Tuesday that about 400 servers were hit during a cyber attack made public Monday. The origins and causes of the attack remain unclear, he said.

Piasere said servers in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia were hit the hardest, while the only attack in Europe was in Aberdeen, Scotland, where the company employs fewer than 30 people.

It’s still unclear where the attack originated or who was behind it, Piasere said.

“As a significant international oil and gas leader, Saipem is part of one of Italy’s core critical infrastructures, and this positioning attracts a perfect storm of both financially motivated and state-sponsored attackers,” said Stefano Zanero, a professor of computer security at the Italian university Politecnico di Milano.

“Saudi Arabia, and the Middle East in general, is a very sensitive region which could point to either economic espionage, state-sponsored information gathering or even an hacktivism-inspired incident,” Zanero said.

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