Hassan Rouhani: Cyberattack ‘unfortunate’ but was thwarted

Written by AFP Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said an “electronic warfare” attack on Iran’s gas supply systems in January was meant to cause disruption but that the attack was eventually thwarted by government and…

Hassan Rouhani: Cyberattack 'unfortunate' but was thwarted

Written by AFP

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said an “electronic warfare” attack on Iran’s gas supply systems in January was meant to cause disruption but that the attack was eventually thwarted by government and oil company employees.

In a speech published by the state broadcaster on Sunday, Rouhani said on January 5 the cyberattack was aimed at affecting the safety of Iranian civilians.

But that failed, he said, because the government had “fully prepared” the nation in defense and gas stations were not affected.

“Using an electronic warfare device, the enemy had planned to cause disturbance at oil and gas facilities which are owned by the oil and gas sector,” Rouhani said, according to state broadcaster IRIB.

Rouhani did not give details about what type of electronic warfare device was involved.

The Electronic Warfare and Cyber Defense Department of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) told CNN on Monday that the cyberattack “was a massive cyberattack which had nothing to do with Iran.”

“It was simply a giant cyberattack against Iran’s power grid, civilian industrial plants and oil and gas pipelines,” the department said in a statement.

Iranian Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli ordered intelligence services to find those responsible for the attack.

Two days after the attack, an Iranian lawmaker blamed the US and Israel for the cyberattack.

“This was a sophisticated and very disruptive attack, which was meant to disrupt our oil and gas production facilities, and the US and the Zionist regime are directly involved in that,” said Behrouz Kamalvandi, spokesman for Iran’s Parliamentary Committee on National Security and Foreign Policy.

Rouhani, who is up for re-election next year, said state institutions should push for a more proactive stance against hackers.

“Our enemies are working hard to interfere with our way of life and, unfortunately, are using very sophisticated tools which are a vast deterioration compared to their situation in the early days,” Rouhani said.

“We should view this attack as another way of attacking Iran.”

Iran has been a target of cyberattacks in the past.

Iran suffered a major cyberattack in 2015 that targeted banks, energy and transport companies, as well as multiple government institutions.

Later that year, the US Treasury Department issued a report on “efforts by states to target Iran’s oil and gas infrastructure.”

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