Iran’s state TV news says the Predatory Sparrow group declared it was behind the disruption
A hacking collective, accused by Iran of having ties to Israel, asserted responsibility for cyberattacks that disturbed services at petrol stations throughout Iran on Monday, according to reports from Iranian state TV and Israeli local media.
Iran’s Oil Minister, Javad Owji, conveyed on Iranian state TV that services had been interrupted at approximately 70 percent of the country’s petrol stations, citing the possibility of external interference as a cause.
The Predatory Sparrow group, as reported by Iran’s state TV news, claimed responsibility for the disruption, a claim also echoed by Israeli local media. In their statement, the group asserted, “This cyberattack was carried out in a controlled manner to avoid potential damage to emergency services.”
While Iran’s civil defense agency, responsible for cybersecurity, continues to investigate, it stated that all potential causes for the disruptions are under consideration. Iranian state media noted that the Predatory Sparrow group had previously claimed responsibility for cyberattacks on Iranian petrol stations, rail networks, and steel factories.
Monday’s petrol outages mark the first such incident since 2021 when a significant cyberattack in Iran disrupted fuel sales, resulting in lengthy queues at stations nationwide. Iran had accused Israel and the United States of orchestrating those attacks.
The disruption, commencing early Monday and particularly impactful in Tehran, compelled many petrol stations to operate manually, according to Iranian media. Oil Minister Owji stated, “At least 30 percent of gas stations are working, with the rest gradually resolving the disruption in services.”
Reza Navar, spokesperson for Iran’s petrol stations association, informed the semi-official Fars news agency that a software issue was at the root of the disruption. He stated, “A software problem with the fuel system has been confirmed in some stations across the country, and experts are currently fixing the issue,” clarifying that there was no fuel supply shortage but urging drivers not to visit petrol stations.
The oil ministry emphasized on state TV that the disruption was unrelated to plans to increase fuel prices, a policy that triggered widespread protests in 2019 and resulted in violent repression. State TV reported that petrol stations were striving to provide fuel manually and estimated it would take at least 6 to 7 hours to resolve the issues.
As of now, Israel has not issued a statement regarding the cyberattack in Iran. Meanwhile, Israel’s Cyber Unit disclosed that Iran and Hezbollah were behind an attempted cyberattack on a hospital in northern Israel about three weeks ago. Although the attack was thwarted, the hackers managed to retrieve “some of the sensitive information stored in the hospital’s information systems.”