Iran says cyberattack has caused widespread disruption at gas stations
According to the oil ministry's news agency SHANA, only purchases with smart cards used for cheaper rationed gasoline were affected, and customers could still buy fuel at higher prices.
Iran claims to be on high alert for cyber-attacks, which it has previously blamed on its arch-foes, the US and Israel. Meanwhile, the US and other Western governments have accused Iran of disrupting and breaching into their networks. "A hack triggered the disturbance in the refuelling system of gas stations... in the last several hours," state television IRIB claimed. It further added that technical specialists resolve the issue, and the refuelling process will shortly return to normal.
According to the oil ministry's news agency SHANA, only purchases with smart cards used for cheaper rationed gasoline were affected, and customers could still buy fuel at higher prices. According to Abolhassan Firouzabadi, secretary of Iran's Supreme Council of Cyberspace, a foreign country most likely carried this out. He added that it is too early to tell which nation did it and how it was done. The disturbances occurred ahead of the second anniversary of a fuel price hike in November 2019, which sparked significant public protests and resulted in hundreds of people being murdered by security forces.
Social media videos revealed seemingly hacked digital traffic signs with inscriptions like "Khamenei, where is our gasoline?" about Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Although Reuters could not verify the recordings independently, Iran's semi-official Mehr news agency acknowledged that certain signs had been hacked. According to industry sources, roughly half of gas stations have reopened as technicians hurry to activate manual settings after hackers crippled online capabilities. Officials assured that there would be no gasoline shortages and that the remaining stations would reopen by Wednesday midday.
Several cyber attacks previously targeted Iran, including one in July when the transport ministry's website was brought down by what state media described as a "cyber disturbance." In July, suspected cyberattacks delayed train services nL2N2OL1JF, with hackers advertising the phone number of Supreme Leader Khamenei's office as the number to contact for information.