Oil Firm Saipem’s Aberdeen IT Infrastructure Suffers Cyber Attack


As a significant international oil and gas leader, Saipem attracts a “perfect storm of both financially motivated and state-sponsored attackers”.

Italian oil services company, Saipem, has revealed it suffered a cyber attack on Monday, which affected its servers in the Middle East and its infrastructure in Aberdeen.

Commenting on the attack, which it claimed to have identified “promptly”, Saipem said: “We are collecting all the elements useful for assessing the impact on our infrastructures and the actions to be taken to restore normal activities.

“We are also in the process of notifying the report of the incident to the competent Authorities.”

Saipem’s head of digital and innovation, Mauro Piasere, said that the source of the attack had been pinpointed to India.

Servers in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were targeted, along with the firm’s IT infrastructure in Aberdeen where the company employs less than 30 people, he said.

Saipem’s servers in its main operating centres elsewhere in the UK, as well as France and Italy, were not affected, though.

He added: “The servers involved have been shut down for the time being to assess the scale of the attack. There has been no loss of data because all our systems have back-ups.”

The data backup systems are expected to be activated once the company is confident the threat has been completely eliminated.

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Saipem, controlled by Italian state lender CDP and multinational oil and gas firm, Eni, specialises in subsea engineering and construction.

Its biggest client is Saudi Aramco with whom it has a framework agreement to 2021.

Stefano Zanero, a computer security professor at the Italian university Politecnico di Milano, 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.

“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.”

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