Iran’s railway system fell prey to a cyberattack this weekend


Iran faced its own spate of cyberattacks this weekend. Reuters and The Guardian report that Iran’s railway train system and transportation websites suffered a “cyber-disruption” (according to state media) on the weekend. Portal sites went down, although it’s not clear just how badly the train system were affected. Officials claimed that only the train displays were compromised with fake messages, but the Fars news agency claimed there was “unprecedented chaos” that included cancellations and delays.

The sites and train systems were back to normal as of Monday morning.

It’s not certain who was behind the attack, although telecom minister Mohammad Javad Azari-Jahromi alerted people to the threat of ransomware if they didn’t address security vulnerabilities. Iran has historically blamed some cyberattacks on the US and Israel, although ransomware is more often the work of criminal organizations.

The US and other countries have typically pinned cyberattacks on Iran, and both sides have engaged in relatively quiet digital warfare. However, it’s not clear that’s the cause here — this could just represent ‘ordinary’ hackers exploiting weak points in Iran’s infrastructure, whether to make money or create havoc.

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