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Iran fears oil plant fires could be due to hacking

23 September 2016

AP says in one of its Big Story reports that a series of fires at Iranian petrochemical plants and facilities have raised suspicions about hacking having played a role, with authorities saying that viruses have contaminated equipment at several of the affected complexes. This follows the targeting of the country’s nuclear uranium enrichment facilities by the Stuxnet virus in 2010.

Fire at the Bou Al Sina complex - Image: IRNA
Fire at the Bou Al Sina complex - Image: IRNA

The news agency says in its report that the Iranian Government officially insists the six known fires over the span of three months were not the result of a cyber attack, but on August 27, Brig. Gen. Gholam Reza Jalali, who heads an Iranian military unit in charge of combatting cybersabotage, acknowledged Iran's petrochemical industry had been the target of cyberattacks.

He put the blame on imported and installed components at the facilities, according to the semi-official Iranian Irna News Agency.

The known conflagrations include:
*  A massive, days-long inferno in July at the Bou Ali Sina Petrochemical Complex in early July, blamed on a leak of paraxylene
*  A July 29 fire at a storage tank at the Bistoon Petrochemical Complex in Iran's western province of Kermanshah that authorities blamed on an electrical fault
*  An August 6 gas pipeline explosion in the port city of Genaveh that killed one person and injured three
*  An August 7 fire at a storage area of the Bandar Imam Khomeini Petrochemical Complex that burned for two days
*  An August 30 inferno that erupted in a sewage unit at Iran's South Pars gas field; and
*  A September 14 gas leak and fire at the Mobin Petrochemical Factory that services the South Pars gas field that injured four workers

Jalali said the viruses had contaminated petrochemical complexes, but had no hand in the fires and explosions. He also said defensive measures are underway.

To see the AP report, click on the link below:

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