Cyber Attack Cripples Petrol Stations in Iran, Reports Israeli Media

December 18, 2023
1 min read
  • A cyber attack, claimed to have been conducted by the Israeli-linked hacker organisation, Predatory Sparrow, has disrupted services at fuel stations across Iran.
  • This incident follows a similar occurrence in 2021 where a major cyber attack also disrupted the sale of fuel across Iran and was attributed to Israel and the United States.
  • This recent attack has also affected around 70% of Iran’s gas stations, with the city of Tehran particularly adversely affected.
  • Predatory Sparrow have stated that the attack was controlled to avoid potential damage to emergency services.

Earlier this week, both Iranian state TV and Israeli local media reported an extensive cyber attack that had disrupted services at numerous fuel stations throughout Iran. Iranian Oil Minister, Javad Owji, reported that approximately 70% of the country’s gas stations’ services had been disrupted. Focus is on interference from foreign entities as the likely cause of the issues.

The hacker organisation, Predatory Sparrow, claimed responsibility for the attacks, with its claim being covered by Israeli media sources. Predatory Sparrow have been careful to state that their cyber attacks were carried out in a controlled manner to avoid causing potential damage to emergency services. The group has previously claimed responsibility for cyber attacks against Iranian petrol stations, rail networks, and steel factories.

Iran’s civil defence agency, the body responsible for the country’s cybersecurity, is still investigating the attack and considering all possible causes for the disruptions. This incident follows a similar one in 2021 when a significant cyber attack in Iran disrupted fuel sales causing long queues at stations across the country. Iran accused Israel and the United States of being behind that attack.

The most recent disruption began early on Monday, with services in Tehran significantly affected. Many petrol stations had to operate manually as a result. Reza Navar, a spokesperson for Iran’s petrol stations association, attributed the disruption to a software issue.

“A software problem with the fuel system has been confirmed in some stations across the country and experts are currently fixing the issue,” Navar informed. He also reassured that there was no fuel supply shortage but advised drivers to avoid petrol stations for the time being.

The oil ministry also informed that the disruption was not related to any plans to increase fuel prices – a policy that led to widespread protests in 2019 and resulted in violent repression. The ministry anticipates that it could take up to 6 or 7 hours to fully resolve the problems.

Israel’s Cyber Unit revealed on Monday that Iran and Hezbollah were behind an attempted cyber attack on a hospital in northern Israel three weeks ago. The attack was successfully thwarted, however, hackers had managed to retrieve some sensitive information stored in the hospital’s information systems. Israel has not yet commented about the recent cyber attack in Iran.

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