By Syed Zafar Mehdi
TEHRAN, Iran (AA) – A day after a massive cyberattack disrupted the country’s fuel distribution system, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi called for robust measures to "anticipate and prevent" such attacks.
Addressing a Cabinet meeting in Tehran on Wednesday, Raisi said the aim of the attack was to "disrupt people's lives," adding that preventing such attacks is essential.
He also urged the Oil Ministry to take necessary action to "compensate people" for the disruption caused by the attack.
After the meeting, Raisi accompanied by other senior officials visited the ministry to review a probe into the attack and its causes.
The attack took place around 11 am on Tuesday, causing widespread disruption and chaos at gas stations across Iran. It targeted the software that supports a smart card payment for subsidized fuel, used widely in Iran.
Initially, officials attributed the malfunction to "technical glitches", but hours later it was confirmed to be a high-intensity cyberattack.
No group has so far claimed responsibility for it. Importantly, the attack came on the heels of the anniversary of November 2019 protests in Iran over fuel price hikes.
Without naming anyone, Raisi said attempts are being made to make people angry by sowing disorder and disruption.
"The purpose of this action was to disrupt people's lives so that they can achieve their specific goals," he asserted, without elaborating.
Raisi said Iran must be "fully prepared" to deal with cyber warfare and to "prevent the enemy from creating problems" in people's lives.
Iran has been hit by a series of cyberattacks in recent years, mostly targeting nuclear facilities, petroleum factories, railway stations, and ports.
Officials have on many occasions blamed Israel for the attacks.