Iranian Fuel Supplies Crippled By Cyber-Attack

Written by

Iran has blamed the US and Israel for a cyber-attack which it said caused widespread disruption to petrol stations on Monday, according to reports.

Oil minister, Javad Owji, reportedly told state TV that 70% of the country’s petrol stations were impacted. Petrol station association spokesperson, Reza Navar, pointed to a “software problem” as the cause of the outages.

Impacted outlets were apparently forced to disconnect their digital systems and supply customers manually.

Iranian citizens benefit from some of the lowest fuel prices in the world thanks to generous government subsidies which can be redeemed by using a state-issued card. Plans to increase prices back in 2019 led to violent protests and clashes with the security forces.

Read more on cyber-attacks in Iran: Undetected Android Trojan Expands Attack on Iranian Banks

A hacktivist group with suspected state links, “Gonjeshke Darande,” or Predatory Sparrow, claimed responsibility for the attack.

A Telegram post from the group said it came “in response to the aggression of the Islamic Republic and its proxies in the region.”

Iran supplies both Hezbollah and Yemen’s Houthi rebels with money and arms. Both have been active in the region since Israel’s retaliation against Hamas in Gaza, with the former firing daily missiles into Israel and the latter stepping up attacks on shipping in the Red Sea.

That could make Monday’s attacks in Iran an attempt to persuade Tehran to intervene in a fast-growing crisis in the Red Sea, which has seen the lane all but closed to cargo vessels. Experts believe this could soon send inflation soaring again globally.

Predatory Sparrow warned on Telegram that “this is just a taste of what we have in store.” However, the group also took to Twitter to explain its actions.

“As in our previous operations, this cyber-attack was conducted in a controlled manner while taking measures to limit potential damage to emergency services,” it said.

“We delivered warnings to emergency services across the country before the operation began, and ensured a portion of the gas stations across the country were left unharmed for the same reason, despite our access and capability to completely disrupt their operation.”

Predatory Sparrow has previously been linked to a cyber-attack which started a fire at an Iranian steel factory last year.

What’s hot on Infosecurity Magazine?