Israel was behind the nationwide cyberattack on Iran’s fuel system which crippled the country’s gas stations last month, according to a report citing US officials. It marked an escalation of the conflict between the two nations.
Iran’s fuel distribution network ground to a halt on October 26 after a cyberattack targeted the system used by motorists to purchase petrol with government-issued cards. At the time, Iran accused an unspecified “state actor” of attempting to stoke “public anger.”
Citing two US defense officials speaking on condition of anonymity, the New York Times reported that the intrusion has been attributed to Israel following confidential intelligence assessments.
Following the attack on the fuel network, the country’s Oil Ministry feared that hackers had gained access to the government’s systems. This potentially allowed them to steal data that could show how Iran manages to breach international sanctions, according to the NYT.
Apparently in response to the attack on Iran, a retaliatory espionage campaign was launched days later on an Israeli medical facility and a dating website, which Tel Aviv claims was conducted by operatives in Tehran.
The information harvested from the cyberattack on Israel was described by the head of the country’s Internet Association, Yoram Hacohen, as “one of the most serious attacks on privacy” that the country had ever seen. Data stolen from Israeli citizens was later leaked on Telegram by a group that Tel Aviv officials claim is either working for the Iranian government or forms a part of it.
The attacks mark an escalation of the conflict between the two nations, as it is believed to be the first incident directly harming civilians, rather than being aimed at military or government targets.
Iran and Israel have not publicly admitted responsibility for the attacks.