Iranian ship Konarak friendly fire incident caused by U.S. supported hackers?

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Hackers hacked computer systems at Iran’s port Shahid Rajaei in Bandar Abbas, thought to have a connection with Konarak friendly fire incident which left 19 dead

Iran has confirmed that unknown hackers were able to breach into its computer systems installed in the port town of Shahid Rajaei. The Managing Director of Ports and Maritime Organization said that hackers failed to hack the web servers at Ports and Maritime Organization’s systems (PMO). However, he added that the hackers were successfully able to hack and infiltrate a number of private computers at the Shahid Rajaei.

The organization is well protected, but still needs to continuously strengthen and update the layers of protection to minimize the risk of a cyber-attack

Iranian official

While another minister in Iran, the Deputy Minister of Roads and Urban Development, Mohammad Rastad agreed that the hackers were able to impact all the southern ports of Shahid Rajaei by brining down the computers.

Currently, the distribution of cargo in northern ports is good; although the performance of all southern ports is negative.

Mohammad Rastad

The hack is believed to be the handiwork of U.S. intelligence with the help of the Five Eyes according to Iranian news websites. Five Eyes is the intelligence alliance comprising Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Why are hackers targetting computer systems in Shahid Rajaei?

Shahid Rajaei is the port city of the strategically important city of Bandar Abbas. Bandar Abbas is the capital of Hormozgān Province on the southern coast of Iran, on the Persian Gulf. The city occupies a strategic position on the narrow Strait of Hormuz, and it is the location of the main base of the Iranian Navy. Bandar Abbas is also the capital and largest city of Bandar Abbas County.

Hacking linked with the friendly fire of Iranian warship Konarak?

The hacking attack on Port Shahid Rajaei took place at the same time as the friendly fire incident of Iranian supports ship Konarak. The support ship Konarak was hit by a new anti-ship missile being tested by the frigate Jamaran during an exercise on 11th May 2020. The missile testing was being done at the port city of Shahid Rajaei. The Konarak had been putting targets out in the water and remained too close to one, according to the reports. Nineteen sailors have been killed and 15 others injured in the incident.

Iranian local papers had hinted that the friendly fire incident and hacking of computers at Shahid Rajaei are linked and somehow the hackers managed to manipulate the targetting of the new missile system which caused the Konarak friendly fire incident. In fact, the news of hacking links to Konarak friendly fire has been the headlines in Iran’s newspapers since 11th May in Iran. However, there is no confirmation that the Konarak friendly fire incident was the work of hackers by the Iranian authorities.

Five Eyes targetting Iranian cyber systems

Stuxnet was the first time the world discovered how the Five Eyes intelligence community was targetting Iran’s nuclear enrichment facility with cyber attacks. The cyber attacks on Iranian assets have continued. In December 2019, the New York Times carried a report of how the U.S. backed hackers hacked into a database used by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps to plot attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf.

In December 2019, Iran foiled two massive cyber-attacks on the telecommunications network in Iran. At that time, the news became a big headline in Iran. An Iranian minister had defined those attacks as “really massive” and attributed them to a nation-state actor aka the United States.

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