Israel behind cyberattack on Iranian port: report

Israel 'behind cyberattack' on Iranian port: report
2 min read
19 May, 2020
An alleged Israeli hack sent Iran's largest container port into 'disarray', according to US and foreign government officials.
The Shahid Rajaee port is Iran's largest container terminal [Getty]
Israel appears to have been behind a highly disruptive cyberattack on an Iranian port earlier this month, The Washington Post reported.

The 9 May attack on computers at the Shahid Rajaee Port reportedly caused huge backups on waterways and roads leading to the port.

The cyberattack was presumably in retaliation for an earlier attempted disruption of rural water distribution systems in Israel, US and foreign government officials told The Washington Post. That attack was seen by Israeli officials as a significant escalation by Iran as it targeted civilian infrastructure.

The Shahid Rajaee port terminal is one of Iran's most crucial for foreign trade, including the internationally sanctioned export of oil.

It is Iran's largest container port and located near the strategic Strait of Hormuz, through which more than a fifth of the world's oil is transported.

The strait has been the site of escalating tensions between Tehran and Washington, as well as US allies in the region, over the past year. 

Foreign government officials told The Washington Post that the cyberattack appears to have been much more damaging than previously admitted by Iran.

The disruption brought the "bustling Shahid Rajaee port terminal to an abrupt and inexplicable halt", officials said.

The managing director of Iran's Ports and Maritime Organisation, Mohammad Rastad, last week told the ILNA news agency that while the cyberattack had managed to briefly knock some private operating systems offline it had not penetrated those of the organisation.

But according to The Washington Post, 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".

Satellite photos seen by the newspaper also showed miles-long traffic jams and ships still waiting to offload days after the attack.

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