A top Iranian military official has blamed the United States and Israel for this week’s cyberattack on Iran’s gas distribution network.
Brig. Gen. Gholam Reza Jalali, who heads Iran’s Civil Defense Organization, told state TV that the massive cyberattack was part of the “wave of US-Israeli attacks” that previously targeted Iran’s railway system in July 2021 and Shahid Rajaei Port in May 2020.
The attack, which took place last Tuesday and targeted the software that supports smart card payment for subsidised fuel, caused widespread disruption and chaos at gas stations across Iran.
While officials initially played it down as a “technical glitch”, it was later confirmed to be a high-intensity cyberattack.
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Jalali said the latest attack followed the same modus operandi as in the previous two attacks, blaming it on the US and Israel.
“In our opinion, the planners of these attacks are definitely the Americans and the Zionist (Israeli) regime,” he asserted.
Giving details about the attack, which brought the country’s vast fuel delivery system to a halt, the official said it targeted “the middleware” in the system, which made it difficult to thwart it.
He warned that a “serious infrastructure cyber warfare” is underway against Iran that should be “taken seriously” and “weaknesses rectified”.
On Wednesday, Abolhassan Firoozabadi, secretary of Iran’s Supreme Council of Cyberspace, said the attack was apparently carried out by a foreign country, without giving out names.
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His statement was followed by Iran’s top security official’s remarks on Twitter, saying the “enemy’s goal” of stoking unrest through the gas crisis had been foiled.
“Although the front line of passive defense was inactivated by a cyberattack, the backline thwarted the enemy’s goal of rioting in Iran through coordinated and timely action of the executive, security, and media agencies,” Ali Shamkhani tweeted.
Following the attack, Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi called for robust measures to “anticipate and prevent” such attacks, which he said were aimed at “disrupting people’s lives”.
While officials at the oil ministry said the subsidised fuel has been restored at more than half of gas stations across the country, full restoration is expected to take more time.