With a new twist, the Israeli-Iran cyber war is targeting civilians

No one died in these attacks, but they were very successful if their goal was to create massive confusion, anger, and mental distress.


Beni Kvodi, 52, the editor of an Israeli radio station, said, “There may be a war between Israel and Iran, but from a small civilian perspective, we are in the middle of here. He has been detained as a prisoner and is powerless. “

Although Kvodi has been openly gay for years, hacking on Israeli dating sites threatened to expose thousands of Israelis who did not publicly reveal their sexual orientation. This site has collected embarrassing information about users’ sexual habits and explicit photos.

Ali, the driver of Tehran’s state-owned taxi company,, like other Iranians, urged him not to use his name for fear of safety. He said he had lost the day of work waiting in line at the gas station. It meandered for miles.

“Waking up in this country every day creates new problems,” he said in a telephone interview. “It’s not our fault that our government is an enemy. It’s already hard enough for us to survive.”


Both countries appear to be attacking civilians to send a message to the government.

Hacking of Iran’s fuel distribution system took place on October 26, near the second anniversary of a major anti-government protest caused by a sudden rise in gasoline prices. The government then responded with a brutal crackdown, saying Amnesty International had killed more than 300 people.

Cyber ​​attacks have emerged with the goal of creating another wave of anti-government insecurity.

The petrol bower suddenly stopped functioning and a digital message instructed the customer to complain to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Alihamenei to display his office phone number.

Hackers dominated the signs in cities such as Tehran and Isfahan and replaced the ads with the message “Kameney, where is my petrol?”

Mosen, manager of a gas station in northern Tehran, said: “I have never seen anything like this.”

Rumors spread that the government designed the crisis to raise fuel prices. Iran’s app-based taxi companies Snap and Tapis have doubled and tripled regular fares in response to drivers having to buy expensive unsubsidized fuel, Iran’s news media Reported.

The rebel uprising never happened, but the government scrambled to contain the damage and put down the turmoil. The Ministry of Petroleum and the National Cyber ​​Council held an emergency meeting. Oil Minister Javad Owji has announced a rare public apology on state television, promising an additional 10 liters of auxiliary fuel to all car owners.

To bring Bowser back online, the ministry had to send technicians to all gas stations in the country. Even after Bowser was reset, most stations could only sell unsubsidized fuel, which is twice the price of subsidized fuel.

It took nearly two weeks to restore the subsidy network, which allocates 60 liters a month to each vehicle at half price.

However, hacking may have been more serious than the inconvenience of the driver.

Oil dealers with knowledge of the Ministry of Petroleum’s senior managers and investigations spoke on anonymous terms to avoid impact, officials said hackers may have gained control and access to the ministry’s fuel storage tanks. Data on international oil sales that said they were wary could reveal how Iran would circumvent international sanctions, a state secret.

Because the ministry’s computer server contains such sensitive data, it is suspected that the system operated without an internet connection and that Israeli authorities provided internal assistance.

Four days after Iran’s Bauzer stopped working, hackers gained access to the data banks of the Israeli dating site Atraf and the medical files of the Machon Mor Medical Institute, a network of Israeli private clinics.

Files from both hacks (including the personal information of about 1.5 million Israelis, about 16% of the country’s population) have been posted to the Telegram messaging app channel.

The Israeli government has asked Telegram to block the channel. However, hackers, a lesser-known group called Black Shadow, quickly reposted material to new channels and continued to repost each time they were blocked.

The group also posted a file stolen from Israeli insurance company Shirbit, which was hacked in December and insured Israeli Defense Ministry employees.

Three high-ranking Israeli officials who asked not to reveal their identities to discuss secret cyber issues said Blackshadow was part of the Iranian government or a freelance hacker working for the government. Stated.

Personal data from dating sites can be disastrous “even for those who are already out of the closet,” Kvodi said. “Each of us has a very close and intimate” relationship “with Atraf. “


This site includes not only the name and address, but also the fact that “our sexual orientation, HIV positivity, the presence or absence of prophylactic drugs, nude photos and related video footage can be uploaded. And to send them to other subscribers. “

Many Atraf subscribers complained as soon as their Instagram, Facebook, or gmail account was also hacked.

According to cyber experts, these hacks weren’t Black Shadow’s job, but knock-on hacks by criminals using personal data posted by Black Shadow. In some cases, they blocked their account, Request a ransom Restore access.

Neither Israel nor Iran publicly blame or hold the latest cyberattacks. Israeli authorities refused to publicly blame Iran, and Iranian authorities blamed gas station attacks on foreign countries and were not named.

Experts say cyber-attacks targeting softer civilians could mark the beginning of a new phase of conflict.

Iranian hackers “identified Israel’s failure to understand” the cyber conflict, said Rotemfinkelstein, head of intelligence at Checkpoint, a cybersecurity firm.

They found that “you don’t have to attack a much more protected government agency”, but you can easily attack a small private company with less security. Many citizens. “

Even if both sides blame each other for escalation and are willing to stop it, it is difficult to know how this genie will be recorked.

“We are in a dangerous stage,” Iran’s former chief analyst of the Ministry of Intelligence, Mayam Beravesh, said in a clubhouse chat on Monday.

“There is the next widespread cyberattack on our infrastructure. We are one step closer to a military conflict.”

This article was originally published in The New York Times.

With a new twist, the Israeli-Iran cyber war is targeting civilians

Source link With a new twist, the Israeli-Iran cyber war is targeting civilians

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