Iran’s gas stations stopped selling fuel on Tuesday, following an outage of a government system managing fuel subsidies which some local media attributed to a cyber attack, Associated Press reports.
Many Iranians rely on fuel subsidies in the economic crisis in Iran, which has been aggravated in recent years by the U.S. sanctions on its oil exports, the COVID pandemic, and the slump in oil prices last year.
Iranians who are trying to buy fuel at the gas stations with a government-issued card for subsidies received today the message “cyberattack 64411” when trying to use the cards at machines, semi-official ISNA news agency reports as cited by AP.
Iranian state television channels have shared images of lines at closed gas stations, but didn’t explain why pumps were closed.
The use of the number 64411 is reminiscent of cyber attacks in Iran earlier this year when the Islamic Republic’s railway system was targeted in July, AP notes.
In early July, Iran’s train service was disrupted in an apparent cyberattack on the Iranian state-controlled railway company.
Cybersecurity company SentinelOne said in a report on the attack later in July that a wiper attack had paralyzed the Iranian train system.
“The attack included epic level trolling as reports suggest that train schedule displays cited “long delay[s] because of cyberattack” along with instructions to contact ‘64411’ –the number for the office of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei,” SentinelOne experts said in the report.
According to the cybersecurity company, “At this time, we have not been able to tie this activity to a previously identified threat group nor to additional attacks. However, the artifacts suggest that this wiper was developed in the past three years and was designed for reuse.”
In today’s outage, no group has immediately claimed responsibility, AP reports.
Iran has often accused Israel and the U.S. of trying to disrupt its systems, while the United States and Israel often blame Iran for cyber attacks.
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com
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Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com