Bits: Daily Report: Malware Damages Aviation Systems in Saudi Arabia

Bits: Daily Report: Malware Damages Aviation Systems in Saudi Arabia

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An attack on the computer systems of Saudi Arabia’s aviation agency, reported on Thursday, is a reminder that the problems of malware and bots are still very much with us.

The attack relied on malware called Shamoon, which was also used to target Saudi energy companies four years ago, Sewell Chan writes. It is not yet clear who was responsible, but computer experts believe the attack in mid-November came from outside the country, and hackers in Iran are possible suspects. Similar malware was used two years ago in attacks on the Las Vegas Sands and Sony.

About a month earlier, still-unidentifed hackers shut down access to a range of computer sites by sending a flood of traffic to a New Hampshire company that manages chunks of the internet’s infrastructure. They relied on corrupted internet-connected devices, like cameras, to generate that huge volume of traffic.

And earlier this week, someone broke into the computers of San Francisco’s mass transit system, forcing the service to offer free fares.

Who is doing it? Most likely, experts say, it’s a combination of nation states and hacking groups. But the recent attacks show that the stakes are rising, from hacking for fun or credit card numbers to bringing down important infrastructure systems.

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