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Nearly 70% of Iran’s gas stations were disabled earlier this week due to a possible sabotage suspected to be a cyberattack, this according to Iranian state TV.

The Iranian media quoted a statement by the Oil Ministry saying that more than 30% of the 33,000 gas stations in the country remain in service. The report said the irregularity in the gas stations was caused by a “software problem”, and urged people not to rush to the stations that were still operational. News sources worldwide, including the Times of Israel, blamed the issue on an attack by the malicious cybercrime group called “Gonjeshke Darande” or “predatory sparrow”.

According to Techxplore, Iran has been targeted in recent years by a series of cyberattacks on its filling stations, railway system and industries, as well as on surveillance cameras in government buildings and prisons.

Last year (in 2022), the group called “Gonjeshke Darande” hacked into a major steel company in the southwest of the country, and in 2021 a cyberattack on Iran’s fuel distribution system paralyzed gas stations across the country. The hacking group then claimed responsibility for the attack on the fuel pumps.

Ever since the incident with the Stuxnet computer virus which disrupted thousands of Iranian centrifuges in the country’s nuclear sites in the late 2000s, the country has disconnected much of its government infrastructure from the internet.

The country also struggles and faces difficulties in getting current hardware and software, and therefore often relies on Chinese-manufactured electronics or older systems that are no longer being patched by manufacturers. For this reason, it is potentially easier for a hacker to target Iranian infrastructures.

This information was provided by Techxplore.