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Israel-linked hackers disable 70% of gas stations in Iran

Gonjeshke Darande, or “predatory sparrow,” claimed responsibility for the cyberattack.

Illustrative image. Credit: Rawpixel.com/Shutterstock.
Illustrative image. Credit: Rawpixel.com/Shutterstock.

A hacking group linked to Israel on Monday paralyzed some 70% of gas stations across Iran.

“This cyberattack comes in response to the aggression of the Islamic Republic and its proxies in the region,” tweeted the group, Gonjeshke Darande, Persian for “predatory sparrow.”

“[Supreme Leader Ali] Khamenei, playing with fire has a price,” it added.

“A month ago we warned you that we’re back and that we will impose a cost for your provocations. This is just a taste of what we have in store,” the hacker collective said.

Iranian Oil Minister Javad Owji told state media on Monday that about 70% of Iran’s petrol stations had stopped working, according to Reuters.

Reza Navar, spokesperson for Iran’s gas stations association, told the semi-official Fars news agency, “A software problem with the fuel system has been confirmed in some stations across the country and experts are currently fixing the issue.”

Gonjeshke Darande previously claimed a cyberattack on Iran’s major steel companies, according to reports.

A 2021 cyberattack on Iran’s fuel distribution system claimed by the group disabled gas stations across the country, leading to long lines of motorists.

Iran has approximately 33,000 gas stations. 

The 2021 attack reportedly targeted the electronic payment system the Islamic Republic uses to enable large segments of the population to purchase subsidized fuel.

The group said on Monday that the cyberattack was “conducted in a controlled manner while taking measures to limit potential damage to emergency services.

“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,” said Gonjeshke Darande.

Iran, Hezbollah behind cyberattack on Israeli hospital

Israel’s National Cyber Directorate revealed on Monday that Iran and its Lebanese territory proxy Hezbollah were behind an attempted cyberattack on Ziv Medical Center in Safed during the ongoing war against Hamas in Gaza.

“The attack, orchestrated by Iran with the involvement of Hezbollah cyber group, aimed to disrupt the hospital’s operations but ultimately failed,” the statement read.

A joint investigation into the incident involving the Israel National Cyber Directorate, Israel Defense Forces and Israeli Security Agency (Shin Bet) showed that the attempt took place around three weeks ago in late November.

The attack was disrupted before being able to disrupt hospital operations or impact medical treatment, however, the attackers managed to steal sensitive data stored in the hospital’s systems which they began to publish online. The statement said that “channels containing sensitive data were promptly removed.”

The cyberattack group named AGRIUS is affiliated with the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence.

“The attack was executed by the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence with the involvement of Hezbollah’s ‘Lebanese Cedar’ cyber units under the leadership of Mohammad Ali Merhi,” according to the statement.

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