On May 10, Iranian officials admitted that the computers at the Shahid Rajaee port, on the southern shore of the Persian Gulf, had been hacked the day before. These computers regulate the flow of vessels, trucks and goods in the port, and all this busy traffic was paralyzed for several days as a result. This quickly resulted in huge backups along the roads and waterways leading to the port (Officials: Israel linked to a disruptive cyberattack on Iranian port facility).
According to a Washington Post report early Tuesday, US and foreign government officials are suggesting the attack came from Israel. The Washington Post reports that satellite photographs following the cyberattack showed miles of traffic jams on on the highways outside Shahid Rajaee port on May 9, and another photograph, from May 12, showed dozens of loaded container ships waiting in the water outside the port.
In early May, Fox News cited a senior US official with the Energy Department who said Iranian hackers had targeted several Israel Water Authority facilities, routing the attack through servers located in the United States. The attack was first reported by Ynet, but at that time it was not yet clear who was behind it.
In early May, JewishPress.com reported that Israeli officials at a top secret security cabinet meeting said Iran had “crossed a red line” with a cyberattack on Israel’s water and sewage facilities. The officials said that although the Iranian cyberattack did little damage, it is seen as a “major escalation” by the Islamic Republic because it targeted civilian infrastructure (Cabinet Sources: Iranian Attack on Israeli Civilian Water Infrastructure ‘Crosses Red Line’).
Israeli officials said the hackers tried to cripple computers that control the country’s water flow and wastewater treatment, and the system regulating chlorine and other chemicals additives. The attack was detected and blocked and no significant damage was done.
The Washington Post quoted a foreign security official who said the May 9 attack was “highly accurate” and the damage to the Iranian port more severe than admitted by Iranian sources. “There was total disarray,” he said.
Mohammad Rastad, managing director of Iran’s Ports and Maritime Organization, told the official ILNA news agency: “A recent cyber attack failed to penetrate the PMO’s systems and was only able to infiltrate and damage a number of private operating systems at the ports.”