What Happened: Italian oil and natural gas contractor Saipem has said a recent cyberattack on the company was perpetrated by a variant of the Iran-devised Shamoon virus, Reuters reported Dec. 12.
Why It Matters: As a result of intensifying sanctions pressure from the United States, Iran is likely to deepen its use of asymmetric capabilities with plausible deniability, such as cyberattacks. However, Tehran still requires the support of many European countries, such as Italy, as it faces increasing sanctions from Washington, meaning it must tread carefully with any operations in Europe.
Background: The Shamoon virus first became public knowledge in 2012 when it was used to attack Saudi Arabia's Aramco, before surfacing again in 2016 and 2017 in other attacks.
- The U.S. Supersizes Its Sanctions (Dec. 6, 2018)
- Why Iran's Government Will Bear the Weight of U.S. Sanctions (Nov. 21, 2018)
- Iran Feels the Effects of U.S. Sanctions (Nov. 6, 2018)