Iranian Motorists Hit With Cyberattack at Filling Stations

CAIRO — A cyberattack disrupted gasoline stations throughout Iran on Tuesday, a number of state-run Iranian information businesses reported, leaving the authorities and gas distributors scrambling to revive service.

The assault, which led to lengthy strains outdoors gasoline stations for a lot of the day, got here shortly earlier than the anniversary of the November 2019 antigovernment protests that erupted over gas value will increase.

The Iranian authorities, who’ve been embarrassed repeatedly up to now by cyberattacks that they blamed on the United States and Israel, stated they have been investigating the episode, state media reported.

Abolhassan Firoozabadi, secretary of Iran’s Supreme Council of Cyberspace, instructed state tv on Tuesday night that the assault was almost definitely carried out by a “foreign country,” although he didn’t identify one.

The disruption, he stated, “had the characteristics of a cyberattack.”

Officials have been quoted by state-run information businesses as saying that solely the mechanism for purchasing gasoline with sponsored gas playing cards had been affected, and that drivers may nonetheless refuel at the next, unsubsidized price.

But most Iranians, squeezed by an economy that has suffered underneath mismanagement, corruption and American sanctions, rely on sponsored gasoline.

Not solely the pumps might have been hacked. Photographs on social media confirmed digital billboards in Tehran, the capital, and Isfahan, one other main Iranian metropolis, displaying the message, “Khamenei, where is our fuel?” The query appeared to seek advice from Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme chief, maybe suggesting a political motivation for the assault.

The semiofficial ISNA information company reported earlier Tuesday that different billboards in Isfahan had displayed the phrases “Free fuel in Jamaran gas station,” an obvious reference to the Tehran neighborhood that was dwelling to Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, Iran’s unique supreme chief. It additionally reported that drivers attempting to pay for gas received error messages studying “cyberattack 64411,” the identical quantity as a hotline in Mr. Khamenei’s workplace.

Within minutes, nevertheless, ISNA’s protection of the hacked billboards had disappeared, a not-uncommon prevalence that generally signifies that the authorities have disapproved of a report. An hour later, ISNA claimed that the sooner report had been written by hackers.

Iran has been the goal of a sequence of cyberattacks over current years, some directed at its nuclear program, together with an American and Israeli marketing campaign in opposition to one of many nation’s uranium enrichment amenities between 2009 and 2010. Others, just like the one which precipitated havoc in Iran’s railway system in July, are aimed at its infrastructure.

The July assault stood out as a result of researchers concluded it had been carried out not by a rival authorities however by an impartial group known as Indra, named after the Hindu god of warfare, which seems to be against the Iranian authorities. In that assault, too, hacked digital messages bore the quantity 64411.

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