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Shamoon,[1] also known as Disttrack, is a modular computer virus discovered by Seculert[1] in 2012 that attacks computers running operating systems from the Microsoft Windows "NT" line such as Windows 7 and 8 (it is not known to function correctly on Windows 9x/ME). The virus has been used for cyber espionage in the energy sector.[2][3][4] Its discovery was announced on 16 August 2012 by Symantec,[3] Kaspersky Lab,[5] and Seculert.[6] Similarities have been highlighted by Kaspersky Lab and Seculert between Shamoon and the Flame malware.[5][6]

The virus has been noted to have behaviour differing from other malware attacks, intended for cyber espionage.[7] Shamoon can spread from an infected machine to other computers on the network. Once a system is infected, the virus continues to compile a list of files from specific locations on the system, upload them to the attacker, and erase them. Finally the virus overwrites the master boot record of the infected computer, making it unbootable.[3]

The virus has hit companies within the oil and energy sectors.[2][4] A group named "Cutting Sword of Justice" claimed responsibility for an attack on 30,000 Saudi Aramco workstations, causing the company to spend a week restoring their services.[8] The group later indicated that the Shamoon virus had been used in the attack.[9] Computer systems at RasGas were also knocked offline by an unidentified computer virus, with some security experts attributing the damage to Shamoon.[10]

An attack that shut down the entire network of Sony Pictures Entertainment was made on 25 November 2014 by an attacker identifying themselves only as #GOP or Guardians of Peace. Sony Pictures was reported to be investigating whether the attack was linked to North Korea, after the film The Interview they released about the country.[11]

See also


  1. ^ "Shamoon" is part of a directory string found in the virus' Wiper component.


  1. ^ Kutty, Darpana (18 September 2012). "Seculert: 'Shamoon' malware covers its tracks by crippling infected systems after stealing data". TopNews Network. Retrieved 25 March 2014. 
  2. ^ a b "Shamoon virus attacks Saudi oil company". Digital Journal. 18 August 2012. Retrieved 19 August 2012. 
  3. ^ a b c "The Shamoon Attacks". Symantec. 16 August 2012. Retrieved 19 August 2012. 
  4. ^ a b "Shamoon virus targets energy sector infrastructure". BBC News. 17 August 2012. Retrieved 19 August 2012. 
  5. ^ a b "Shamoon the Wiper — Copycats at Work". 16 August 2012. Retrieved 19 August 2012. 
  6. ^ a b "Shamoon, a two-stage targeted attack". Seculert. 16 August 2012. Retrieved 19 August 2012. 
  7. ^ "Exhibitionist Shamoon virus blows PCs' minds".  
  8. ^ Perloth, Nicole (October 24, 2012). "Cyberattack On Saudi Firm Disquiets U.S.".  
  9. ^ "Virus knocks out computers at Qatari gas firm RasGas". CNET. 30 August 2012. Retrieved 1 September 2012. 
  10. ^ "Computer virus hits second energy firm". BBC News. 31 August 2012. Retrieved 1 September 2012. 
  11. ^ Computer Weekly: Computer-killing malware used in Sony attack a wake-up call
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