Iran foiled massive Israeli cyberattack in Bandar Rajai port: IRNA

According to the Islamic Republic’s News Agency (IRNA) of Iran, computers in the southern Iranian port of Bandar Rajai were subjected to a ‘failed’ Israeli cyber attack last week.

The cyberattack created kilometres-long line-ups of vehicles outside the port and vessels stuck in the harbour.
“A failed attack on computers in the Bandar Rajai port was a result a result of the Israeli cyber attack last week,” an official told the agency.

The agency noted that “the attack did not lead to any disruption in the work of the port thanks to the full readiness of the civil defense units and the quick and effective confrontation of the defect caused by the attack,” the official said.

Meanwhile, the Washington Post revealed earlier, according to sources, that Israel was involved in a cyber attack on the Rajai port in the Iranian city of Bandar Abbas on May 9.

The WP reported Monday citing foreign and US officials, said Israel was likely behind the hack that brought the “bustling Shahid Rajaee port terminal to an abrupt and inexplicable halt” on May 9.

The American newspaper stated that the work of the Iranian strategic port in the Strait of Hormuz was suddenly interrupted on that day by the departure of the computer responsible for navigation in the region.

“Computers that regulate the flow of vessels, trucks and goods all crashed at once, ­creating massive backups on waterways and roads leading to the facility,” the Post reported, adding that it had seen satellite photos showing miles-long traffic jams leading to the port and ships still waiting to offload several days later.“A recent cyber attack failed to penetrate the PMO’s systems and was only able to infiltrate and damage a number of private operating systems at the ports,” Mohammad Rastad, managing director of the Ports and Maritime Organization, said in a statement carried by Iran’s ILNA news agency.

A US official with access to classified files also said that Israelis were believed to have been behind the attack. The officials said it was apparently carried out in retaliation for an Iranian cyberattack that targeted Israel’s water infrastructure.

There was no comment from the Israeli embassy in Washington or the Israel Defense Forces, the report said.An unnamed Western official also told Israeli TV on Tuesday morning that the cyberattack was retaliation for Tehran’s failed attempted assault in April on Israel’s water infrastructure.

The response appeared to indicate that Israel has adopted a “tit-for-tat” strategy in responding to Iranian cyber warfare, a tactic already used by the Israeli military with physical, or kinetic, attacks, this official said.

“The cyberattack on the [Shahid Rajaee port] in Iran was an Israeli response to the cyber attack that [the Iranians] carried out against Israel two weeks before against Mekorot [national water company] components — an attack that failed,” the official told Channel 12 news, on condition of anonymity.

“Israel hopes that [the Iranians] stop there. They attacked water infrastructure components. They didn’t really cause damage — but they crossed a line and [Israel] needed to retaliate,” the official said.

Israel was reportedly aghast at the Iranian attack on its water infrastructure.

A May 7 meeting of the high-level security cabinet, the first to be held in months, dealt in part with the Iranian attempt, Israeli television reported.

Quoting unnamed senior officials, Channel 13 news said on May 9 that the attack in late April was viewed as a significant escalation by Iran and a crossing of a red line because it targeted civil infrastructure.

“This is an attack that goes against all the codes of war. Even from the Iranians we didn’t expect something like this,” an official was quoted as saying.

The attack did minimal damage, though problems were reported at some facilities in local councils, the officials said.

Israel was weighing how and if to respond, the network said at the time.

According to the report, ministers who took part in the security cabinet meeting had to sign nondisclosure agreements.

Experts have recently warned that the coronavirus pandemic has created a perfect storm for cyberattacks, with millions of people working in unfamiliar, less secure circumstances and eager for information about the virus and with new organizational policies being implemented.

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