Israeli media reports cyber attack paralyzing Iranian petrol stations

December 18, 2023
1 min read

Key Points:

  • A hacker group known as Predatory Sparrow, which allegedly has Israeli ties, claimed responsibility for hacking fuel stations across Iran resulting in a disruption of services.
  • Iran’s Oil Minister Javad Owji announced that about 70% of the gas stations were affected by this cyber attack.
  • Despite the hacker’s claim, Iran’s civil defence agency said it was still considering all possible causes as it is investigating the incident.
  • The nation experienced a similar cyber attack in 2021 affecting the sale of fuel which resulted in long queues at stations, with Iran accusing Israel and the United States as being behind those attacks.

A cyber attack disrupted services at fuel stations across Iran on Monday, with a hacker group known as the Predatory Sparrow claiming responsibility for the interference. This group, thought to have Israeli ties, allegedly carried out the attack in a “controlled manner” so as not to cause damage to emergency services.

The cyber attack, which started early Monday, mainly affected Tehran, forcing many petrol stations to operate manually. Reports indicate that as many as 70% of Iran’s gas stations were impacted. The country’s Oil Minister, Javad Owji, stated that at least 30% of the gas stations faced disruption in services, which were gradually being resolved.

The nation’s civil defence agency, responsible for cybersecurity, said it is still investigating the incident and is considering all possible causes for the disruptions.

This incident isn’t the first time Iran has been targeted in such a manner. In 2021, a major cyber attack disrupted the sale of fuel across the country, leading to long queues at stations. Iran accused Israel and the United States as the culprits behind that incident.

In a brief statement, Reza Navar, a spokesperson for Iran’s petrol stations association, noted a software issue was the main cause of this disruption in some areas of the country. Navar added that there was no fuel supply shortage. Meanwhile, Israel has yet to make an official comment about the recent cyber attack in Iran.

The petrol pump prices in Iran are heavily subsidized. The Iranian oil ministry earlier told state TV that the disruption was not in any way linked to the plans to raise fuel prices – a policy that spurred widespread protests in 2019, leading to violent repression.

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