A major disruption at gas stations across Iran was reportedly caused by an Israeli cyber attack on software supporting a subsidized card payment system relied upon by millions of drivers.
Although Iran still hasn’t pointed fingers at Israel, some experts believe the disruption happened due to the actions of Israeli hackers.
Problems in fuel distribution were reported in the cities of Sari, Tehran, Bushehr and Shiraz. Angry motorists were stranded in long lines at shuttered stations. The semiofficial ISNA news agency had earlier said it saw those trying to buy fuel with a government-issued card through the machines instead receive a message reading “cyberattack 64411.” The use of the number “64411” mirrored an attack in July targeting Iran's railroad system that also saw the number displayed. Israeli cybersecurity firm Check Point later attributed the train attack to a group of hackers that called themselves Indra.
The semi-official Fars News Agency said the attack may have been timed to coincide with the upcoming anniversary of widespread and violent protests that erupted after the government raised fuel prices in mid-November 2019.
“It’s certainly a software issue…The entire digital payment system had shut down due to security layers within the system,” Masoud Rezai, director of the company that manages the fuel card system told state TV.
The sudden pause in the fuel supply allegedly resulted in the some fuel stations in Tehran selling the fuel at hiked up prices as a substitute. Iranian security forces were also reportedly deployed to the city streets to suppress any anti-regime protests that could rise.