The day after Iran blamed a foreign country for a cyberattack that paralyzed gas stations across the country, an official tweeted in Hebrew that the “enemy’s goal” of fueling unrest through gas shortages was had frustrated.
“Although the passive front line defenses were disabled by a cyber attack, the rear defeated the enemy’s objective of provoking unrest in Iran through coordinated and timely action by the executive, security and communication agencies,” tweeted Ali Shamkhani, secretary of the National Supreme Court. Iran’s Security Council, in its second tweet this week in Hebrew, English, Arabic and Persian.
“Smart management in October 2021 reveals the recklessness of October 2019,” he said, presumably referring to the deadly fuel riots that took place in late 2019 in Iran.
Iran has in the past blamed Israel for causing unrest during protests. In July, Iran claimed to have arrested a Mossad cell that planned to provoke violence during demonstrations over water shortages in the country.
Tuesday’s cyberattack blocked the IT system that allows Iranians to fill their tanks for free or at subsidized prices with a digital card issued by the authorities, leading to long lines and frustration when drivers were stranded without fuel.
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi said the attack was designed to “anger people by creating disorder and disruption.”
Raisi refused to point the finger at whoever is responsible for the incident, but added: “There must be serious preparation in the field of cyber warfare and related bodies must not allow the enemy to follow their ominous targets to make trouble. be a trend in people’s lives. “
A senior Iranian official said Wednesday that the cyberattack affected all 4,300 gas stations in the Islamic Republic. According to the state news agency IRNA, 80% of Iran’s gas stations had started selling fuel again on Wednesday morning.
Abolhassan Firoozabadi, a senior official with Iran’s Supreme Council of Cyberspace, told state broadcaster IRIB that the attack had apparently been carried out by a foreign country, although it was too early to name suspects. He also linked the attack to another that targeted Iran’s rail system in July, in comments reported by IRNA.
“There is a possibility that the attack, like an earlier one on the rail system, was carried out from outside,” Firouzabadi said.
The cyberattack appeared to directly challenge Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, as the country’s economy sinks under US sanctions.
The semi-official ISNA news agency said it saw those trying to buy fuel with a government-issued card through the machines instead of receiving a message saying “64411 cyberattack.” Most Iranians rely on those subsidies to power their vehicles, particularly amid the country’s economic woes.
While ISNA did not recognize the importance of the number, that number is associated with a hotline in Khamenei’s office that handles questions about Islamic law.
Subsequently, ISNA deleted his reports, claiming that he had also been hacked. Such claims of hacking can come quickly when the Iranian media publishes news that enrages the theocracy.
Iran on the one hand and the United States and Israel on the other regularly accuse each other of cyberattacks.
Israeli cyber experts told public broadcaster Kan on Tuesday that this week’s cyberattack against Iran appeared to have been carried out by serious hackers: “We are not talking about children, but professional hackers, which does not rule out that are backed by a state government. “
In 2010, the Stuxnet virus, believed to have been engineered by Israel and the United States, infected Iran’s nuclear program and caused a series of breakdowns in centrifuges used to enrich uranium.
Iran disconnected much of its internet infrastructure after the Stuxnet virus.
In 2019, Iran said that no cyberattack against the Islamic Republic had been successful, after US media reported that the United States launched one during a clash between the two countries. The Iranian telecommunications minister acknowledged at the time that Iran had “faced cyber terrorism.”
In August, a cyberattack led to the leak of a video of abuse at the notorious Evin prison in Iran.