Saudi Arabia warns destructive computer virus has returned

EnergyAssociated Press

Saudi Arabia is warning that a computer virus that destroyed the systems of its state-run oil company in 2012 has returned.

A state-run television channel aired comments on Monday suggesting that 15 government agencies and private institutions had been hit by the Shamoon virus.

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The Shamoon virus hit the Saudi Arabian Oil Co. hard in 2012, with industry analysts saying it erased hard drives and showed burning American flags on computer screens.

Then-U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta at the time described the Shamoon attack on Saudi Aramco as the most destructive to ever target the private sector.

Suspicion for the attack fell on Iran, Saudi Arabia's regional rival. Iran denied launching the attack, which came after another cyberattack targeting Tehran's contested nuclear enrichment program.