A voracious virus attack has hit computers running key parts of Iran's oil sector, forcing authorities to unplug its main oil export terminal from the Internet and to set up a cyber crisis team, according to reports on Monday.

The Mehr news agency reported that Iran's principal oil terminal on Kharg island in the Gulf has been disconnected from the Internet since Sunday along with facilities in other parts of the country.

The Kharg terminal handles 90 per cent of Iran's oil exports, according to the National Iranian Oil Terminals Company.

Mehr said the Internet disconnection “has not caused any problem” in oil production and exports.

Mehr did not give a source for the report, and no official Iranian media confirmed the information.

Oil Ministry spokesman Alireza Nikzad told the Ministry's news website SHANA that, contrary to initial reports in Iran, the virus had succeeded in wiping data off official servers.

Iran's reaction to the virus attack was a test of procedures put in place after the country suffered a massive cyber assault in 2010 by a worm called Stuxnet that reportedly dealt a big blow to the country's nuclear programme. Stuxnet, Western media and experts said, homed in on computers running uranium enrichment centrifuges at Iran's nuclear facility in Natanz, destroying thousands of them and setting the atomic programme back months.

Keywords: cyber crimehacking

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