Shamoon, also known as Disttrack, is unusual as it infects a PC, steals certain data, sends the data to another infected PC and then overwrites the PC's master boot record, which makes the system virtually useless.
There has been some speculation why the attacker may have an interest in actually destroying the infected PC. Kaspersky Labs hinted that the 900 KB malware could be related to Wiper, that was used in a cyber attack on Iran in April. After an analysis, the company concluded that this malware is more likely to come from "scriptkiddies" who were inspired by Wiper.
"Our opinion, based on researching several systems attacked by the original Wiper, is that it is not," Kaspersky wrote in a blog post. "The original “Wiper” was using certain service names (“RAHD...”) together with specific filenames for its drivers (“%temp%\~dxxx.tmp”) which do not appear to be present in this malware. Additionally, the original Wiper was using a certain pattern to wipe disks which again is not used by this malware."
However, Kaspersky also said that there have been only two reports of Shamoon in the wild, both cases in China, which led them to believe that the malware was used in "very focused targeted attacks."
Symantec followed up with a detailed description of a 3-phase attacked structure consisting of a dropper, wiper and reporter component that were used "against at least one organization in the energy sector."