Sometimes a high tech problem demands a low tech solution. That’s what oil giant Saudi Aramco found out after a 2012 cyber attack.

According to Dark Reading, independent cyber security analyst Chris Kubecka said the state-owned gaint survived a 2012 cyber attack by turning to typewriters and paper.

During a talk at the Black Hat Conference in Las Vegas, Kubecka said that a cyber attack against the company on August 15, 2012 partially or totally destroyed 35,000 Saudi Aramco computers.

The attack was launched by a group calling itself the “Cutting Sword of Justice.”

The group cited the company’s connections to the ruling Al Saud family as the reason behind the attack, Dark Reading said.

Kubecka, who was tapped to secure the firm’s EMEA satellite offices after the attack, said the incident only lasted a few hours but manged to cripple the company’s communication systems.

Although the company’s upstream operations were unaffected thanks to large security investments in its industrial control systems the virus was still able to target computers, email servers and other systems.

“No emails, no phone, nothing,” Kubecka said.

The virus, known as Distrack or Shamoon, forced employees to conduct work, manage supplies and handle contracts with typewriters, paper and fax machines.

According to Kubecka, the company had to buy 50,000 hard drives to replace the damaged systems.

It took about five months for the company to completely recover form the attack.

“It was a challenge,” Kubecka added.


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