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Gas stations across Iran suffer outage in possible cyberattack

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Gas stations across Iran suffer from widespread breakdown of a government system governing fuel subsidies, halting sales in an incident that a semi-official news agency calls cyberattack.

An Iranian public television account is sharing footage of long lines of cars waiting to refuel in Tehran online. An Associated Press reporter also saw lines of cars at a Tehran gas station with the pumps turned off and the station closed.

State television does not explain what the problem is, but says officials from the Petroleum Ministry are organizing an “emergency meeting” to resolve the technical issue.

The semi-official ISNA news agency, which describes the incident as a cyberattack, said it saw those who attempted to purchase fuel with a government-issued card through the machines instead received a message that read “cyberattack 64411 “. Most Iranians depend on these subsidies to power their vehicles, especially amid the country’s economic woes.

Although ISNA does not recognize the importance of this issue, this issue is associated with a hotline operated by the office of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, which deals with issues of Islamic law. ISNA then withdrew its reports.

Overseas Farsi satellite channels are posting videos apparently shot by drivers in Isfahan, a large Iranian city, showing electronic billboards reading, “Khamenei! Where is our gas? Another said, “Free gasoline at the Jamaran gas station,” a reference to the house of the late Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

No group immediately claims responsibility for the failure. However, the use of the number “64411” reflects an attack in July targeting the Iranian rail system which also saw the number displayed. Israeli cybersecurity firm Check Point later attributed the train attack to a group of hackers named Indra, named after the Hindu god of war.

Indra previously targeted companies in Syria, where President Bashar Assad retained power thanks to Iran’s intervention in his country’s bitter war.

Iran has faced a series of cyber attacks, including one that leaked video of abuse at its infamous Evin prison in August.

The country disconnected much of its government infrastructure from the Internet after the Stuxnet computer virus – widely believed to be a joint US-Israel creation – disrupted thousands of Iranian centrifuges at nuclear sites across the country in the late 2000s .

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