Suspected Israeli cyberattack paralyses petrol stations across Iran

Suspected Israeli cyberattack paralyses petrol stations across Iran
A possible Israeli cyberattack has disabled 70 percent of petrol pumps in Iran causing chaos for motorists.
2 min read
18 December, 2023
In recent years, Iran has seen a series of cyberattacks on its filling stations. [Getty]

Nearly 70 percent of Iran’s petrol stations went offline on Monday following possible sabotage — a reference to cyberattacks, Iranian state TV reported.

The report said a “software problem” caused the irregularity in the gas stations. It urged people not to rush to the stations that were still operational.

Israeli media, including the Times of Israel, blamed the problem on an attack by a hacker group dubbed Gonjeshke Darande or "predatory sparrow".

State TV quoted a statement by the Oil Ministry as saying more than 30 percent of gas stations remain in service. The country has some 33,000 gas stations.

In recent years, Iran has seen a series of cyberattacks on its filling stations, railway system and industries. Surveillance cameras in government buildings, including prisons, have also been hacked in the past.

In 2022, the Gonjeshke Darande group hacked a major steel company in the southwest of the country. A cyberattack on Iran’s fuel distribution system in 2021 paralysed gas stations across the country, leading to long lines of angry motorists. The hacking group claimed responsibility for the attack on fuel pumps.

Nearly a month ago, Israel's National Cyber Directorate said that Iran and Hezbollah planned a cyberattack on Ziv Medical Center in Safed, resulting in the theft of sensitive medical data, The Times of Israel reported.

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The directorate revealed that the attack occurred last month, but the hackers were prevented from interfering with the hospital's operations.

"In a joint effort by the cyber directorate, the IDF, the Shin Bet, and the Health Ministry and hospital teams, the attack was stopped before it could achieve its goal of disrupting the hospital’s operations and harming the medical care of civilians," the directorate announced in a statement.

Israel is believed to have carried out assassinations against scientists and cyberattacks targeting Iran's nuclear programme.