Israel-Linked Hackers Claim Cyberattack That Shuts Down 70% of Iran’s Gas Stations | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #hacker

People wait at a gas station during gas station disruption in Tehran, Iran, Dec. 18, 2023. Photo: Majid Asgaripour/WANA (West Asia News Agency) via REUTERS

A hacking group that has been linked to Israel on Monday claimed responsibility for a cyberattack that paralyzed the majority of gas stations across Iran.

More than 70 percent of gas stations in Iran were knocked out due to service disruptions, the country’s Oil Minister Javad Owji confirmed to Iranian state TV.

A group known as “Gonjeshke Darande,” or “predatory sparrow” in Farsi, announced it was behind the attack in a post on X/Twitter.

“We, Gonjeshke Darande, carried out another cyberattack today, taking out a majority of the gas pumps throughout Iran,” the hackers wrote. “This cyberattack comes in response to the aggression of the Islamic Republic and its proxies in the region.”

Pointing the finger at Iran’s so-called “supreme leader,” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the group added, “Khamenei, playing with fire has a price. A month ago we warned you that we’re back and that we will impose cost for your provocations. This is just a taste of what we have in store.”

The hacker group is suspected to be of Israeli origin and reportedly linked to Israel’s Military Intelligence Directorate, although it is difficult to pinpoint with definite certainty the source of such cyberattacks. It has previously claimed responsibility for targeting the Iranian state-owned Khuzestan Steel Co. to halt production, as well as several Iranian gas stations.

According to Iranian state media, “the reason for the disruption in fuel distribution is a cyber attack by Israel and the USA, after their losses on the other fronts.”

In a second statement published on Telegram, Gonjeshke Darande said Monday’s 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,” the group wrote.

On the same day, meanwhile, Israel’s National Cyber Agency announced that an attempted cyberattack on the Ziv Medical Center in northern Israel last month was carried out by Iranian and Hezbollah hackers. According to the cyber agency, a joint investigation was conducted alongside the Shin Bet security agency and the Israel Defense Forces that confirmed the failed attack on the hospital was perpetrated by the Iranian Intelligence Ministry in coordination with the Iran-backed terror group Hezbollah, which is based in Lebanon.

The statement said that while the hackers’ goal of disrupting hospital activities failed, “the group was found to have stolen some of the sensitive information stored in the hospital’s systems.”

Israel has allegedly carried out several cyber attacks against Iran, which US intelligence agencies frequently call the world’s foremost state sponsor of terrorism. Iran is the main international sponsor of Hamas, the Palestinian terror group that carried out the Oct. 7 massacre across southern Israel, launching the current war in Gaza.

One of the most notable cyberattacks said to involve Israel was the Stuxnet program, an alleged joint project of Jerusalem and Washington, DC that destroyed major parts of the Natanz nuclear facility in Iran. The attack heavily hampered the country’s nuclear program, which many experts and governments say is designed to build nuclear weapons.

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