Iran blames cyberattack for nationwide gas station closures

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The Iranian flag is seen in this June 10, 2021, file photo.

Iran says that a cyberattack caused nationwide closures of gas stations, according to multiple reports.

“The disruption at the refueling system of gas stations… in the past few hours, was caused by a cyberattack,” Iranian state broadcaster IRIB reported, according to Reuters.

“Technical experts are fixing the problem and soon the refueling process…will return to normal,” IRIB continued.

Iran’s oil ministry said through its news agency SHANA that only sales with cards used for cheaper gasoline were disrupted, adding that people could still buy fuel at a higher rate, the outlet noted.

Nearly half of gas stations reopened once manual settings were activated, Reuters noted, citing industry officials. There were no fuel shortages, and remaining gas stations are expected to reopen by midday on Wednesday.

No group claimed responsibility for the breach, The Washington Post noted.

Billboards were also hacked as part of the breach, according to the newspaper, with one sign reading “Khamenei, where is our gas?” referring to Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Khomeini.

The attack comes the same month in the Persian calendar that protests were sparked in 2019 over rising gas prices, The Associated Press noted. Around 300 people were believed to have been killed in the aftermath of a government crackdown. 

Iran has been the subject of multiple cyberattacks by groups aimed at exposing alleged abuses by the government. 

Most recently, a hacker group in August released footage showing guards beating prisoners at Evin prison, which is known for holding political detainees, prompting a rare apology from the Iranian government, the Post noted.

Meanwhile, the United States and Israel have accused Iranian-linked hackers of targeting their networks.

Earlier this month, Microsoft’s Threat Intelligence Center and Digital Security Unit released evidence suggesting that Iranian-linked hackers had been targeting and compromising U.S. and Israeli defense technology companies since July.  


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