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Over 8,000 cyber-attacks thwarted in Iran last year

April 11, 2023 at 2:17 pm

Illustration file picture shows a man typing on a computer keyboard [REUTERS/Kacper Pempel]

Iran said, Tuesday, it had thwarted more than 8,000 cyber-attacks in the previous Iranian calendar year that ended on 20 March, Anadolu News Agency reports.

Amir Muhammadzadeh-Lajevardi, CEO of Iran’s Telecommunication Infrastructure Company (TIC), said as many as 8,321 cyber-attacks targeting the country’s critical infrastructure network were successfully warded off in the past year.

He referred to recent cyber-attacks on the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) and domestic messaging applications, Rubika and Bale, which were both reportedly foiled.

“These days, the largest volume of foreign attacks is directed at banks and financial institutions, internet providers and communications infrastructure, which have been repelled,” Lajevardi said in a statement cited by state news agency, IRNA.

Most of these have been distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks – which means an attempt to disrupt the normal traffic of a targeted server, service or network with a wave of internet traffic.

Anonymous local and foreign hacker groups have, in recent years, targeted public and private enterprises in Iran at an alarming rate, most of them thwarted successfully.

The hacker groups upped the ante during recent anti-government protests that were triggered by the death of a 22-year-old woman while in police custody last September.

In January, Iranian authorities said they had foiled a wave of DDoS attacks targeting the country’s top public banking institution, as well as two domestic messaging applications.

In December 2022, a major DDoS attack was reported at the Imam Khomeini International Airport in the Iranian capital, Tehran, which delayed flights by about 15 minutes.

In April last year, Iranian authorities said they had thwarted attacks that targeted the infrastructure of more than 100 public sector organisations, without naming them.

While most cyber-attacks have, in recent years, been repelled, an attack on Iran’s gas distribution network in October 2021 caused widespread disruption and chaos at gas stations across the country.

Officials initially called it a “technical glitch” but later confirmed it was a high-intensity cyber-attack, blaming the US and Israel for it, and linking it to similar cyber-attacks on Iran’s railway system in July 2021 and Shahid Rajaei port in May 2020.

Cyber-attacks between Iran and Israel have become more covert in recent years. Both sides have been engaging in covert cyber-actions, even though neither Tehran nor Tel Aviv has acknowledged it publicly.

READ: Iran: Israel too small to pose threat, says army chief