In Iran, May the 9th , a shipping traffic at bustling Shahid Rajaee port arrived to an unexplainable and sudden halt. The thing that caused massive vessels and trucks disturbance. Also, it created a huge backups on waterways and roads.
After waiting a day, Iranian officials acknowledged that an unknown foreign hacker had briefly knocked the port’s computers offline. Now, more than a week later, a more complete explanation has come to light: The port was the victim of a substantial cyberattack that U.S. and foreign government officials say appears to have originated with Iran’s archenemy, Israel.
The attack, which snarled traffic around the port for days, was carried out by Israeli operatives, presumably in retaliation for an earlier attempt to penetrate computers that operate rural water distribution systems in Israel, according to intelligence and cybersecurity officials familiar with the matter.
A security official with a foreign government that monitored the May 9 incident called the attack “highly accurate” and said the damage to the Iranian port was more serious than described in official Iranian accounts.
“There was total disarray,” said the official, who spoke on the condition that his identity and national affiliation not be revealed, citing the highly sensitive nature of the intelligence. A U.S. official with access to classified files also said that Israelis were believed to have been behind the attack.
The Washington Post was shown satellite photographs depicting miles-long traffic jams on highways leading to the Shahid Rajaee port on May 9. In a photograph dated May 12, dozens of loaded container ships can be observed in a waiting area just off the coast.
The Israeli Embassy did not respond to requests for comment. The Israel Defense Forces declined to comment. Iran has repeatedly denied involvement in the failed April 24 hacking attempt on Israeli water distribution networks.
If accurate, the reports point to a new round of tit-for-tat blows between the two bitter Middle East rivals, although U.S.
cybersecurity experts said the most recent exchanges have been relatively restrained so far.
“Assuming it’s true, this is in line with Israeli policy of aggressively responding to Iranian provocation, either kinetically or through other means,” said Dmitri Alperovitch, a cybersecurity policy fellow at the Harvard Belfer Center and founder and former chief technology officer of Crowd Strike, a cybersecurity firm. “Any time you see Iranian escalation, as with their build-up of rocket capacity in Syria, you have consistently seen Israeli retaliation with bombing runs on those positions. So it appears they have now applied that doctrine in cyberspace.”
Investigators found that the hackers routed their attempted attack through computer servers in the United States and Europe — a common tactic used by adversaries of the West. Israeli Water Authority officials detected the attempt and immediately took measures, including changing system passwords.
Each country has accused the other of similar attacks in the past. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in 2019 that Israeli officials are “constantly detecting and foiling Iranian attempts” to penetrate the country’s computer networks.
Years earlier, U.S. and Israeli intelligence agencies unleashed a computer worm called Stuxnet on Iranian uranium-enrichment plants in an attempt to disrupt Iran’s nuclear program. Neither country officially confirmed its role.
Source: Washington Post