Iran said a foreign country was behind a cyber attack that paralyzed its gasoline distribution network on Tuesday.
A group called Predatory Sparrow claimed to have carried out the hack, but Iran’s leading Internet political body blamed an unnamed “state actor”.
President Ebrahim Raisi said the goal was “to fuel public anger”.
The attack hit an intranet-based system that allows motorists to purchase subsidized fuel with government-issued smart cards, causing long queues at gas stations.
Hackers also hijacked digital billboards on highways in the capital Tehran and elsewhere, displaying a message saying: “[Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali] Khamenei, where is our fuel? “
Only 5 percent of the country’s 4,300 gas stations had been reconnected Wednesday morning, a spokeswoman for the National Iranian Oil Products Distribution Company (NIOPDC) told state media.
However, nearly 3,000 were able to sell fuel “offline” at an unsubsidized price, he added.
Most people depend on subsidized fuel in Iran, whose economy has been severely damaged by years of US sanctions, as well as government mismanagement and corruption.
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“Some aim to fuel public anger by creating chaos and disrupting people’s lives,” Raisi said during a cabinet meeting on Wednesday.
The president also said that the “vigilance” of the Iranian authorities had prevented hackers from taking advantage of the situation.
The secretary of the Supreme Cyberspace Council, Abolhassan Firuzabadi, said that the attack was carried out by a foreign country, but that it is “too early to announce from which country and how it was carried out”.
The semi-official Fars news agency meanwhile linked the hack to the second anniversary of the mass protests that broke out across Iran after the government raised the price of gasoline by 50%.
The riots resulted in a bloody repression by the security forces. Amnesty International said more than 300 people were killed, but Iranian officials rejected the figure.
In a post on Telegram, Predatory Sparrow claimed that the hack was a “response to the cyber actions of the terrorist regime in Tehran against people in the region and around the world”.
He added that he warned Iranian emergency services personnel in advance and chose not to exploit a vulnerability that would cause “very long-term damage”.
The group also announced that it was behind a cyber attack on the Iranian railway network in July, which caused train station forums to be misrepresented as delayed or canceled.
A group calling itself a “predatory sparrow” claimed responsibility for today’s nationwide cyberattack on Iranian gas stations, also claiming responsibility for a similar attack on Iran’s rail network earlier this year. The claims are unconfirmed and should be treated with caution. pic.twitter.com/4AwgTUImB6
– Shayan Sardarizadeh (@ Shayan86) October 26, 2021
- Cyber attacks
- IT security
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