Iran’s authorities said Saturday they are investigating a midnight blast in northern Tehran that caused no casualties or damages but came on the heels of a cyber-attack that disrupted the railway system.
The railroad transportation grid came under cyber-attack on Friday, with hackers posting fake messages about alleged train delays or cancellations on display boards at stations across the country.
Along with messages saying “long delayed because of cyberattack” or “canceled,” hackers urged passengers to call for information the phone number of the office of the country’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
The semiofficial Fars news agency reported that the hack led to “unprecedented chaos” at rail stations.
No group has so far taken responsibility of the incident. Earlier in the day, Fars said trains across Iran had lost their electronic tracking system. It wasn’t immediately clear if that was also part of the cyber-attack.
Fars later removed its report and instead quoted the spokesman of the state railway company, Sadegh Sekri, as saying “the disruption” did not cause any problem for train services.
In 2019, an error in the railway company’s computer servers caused multiple delays in train services.
In December that year, Iran’s telecommunications ministry said the country had defused a massive cyber-attack on unspecified “electronic infrastructure” but provided no specifics on the purported attack.
It was not clear if the reported attack caused any damage or disruptions in Iran’s computer and internet systems, and whether it was the latest chapter in the US and Iran’s cyber operations targeting the other.
Iran disconnected much of its infrastructure from the internet after the Stuxnet computer virus — widely believed to be a joint US-Israeli creation — disrupted thousands of Iranian centrifuges in the country’s nuclear sites in the late 2000s.
— “Sound bomb” —
The railway hacking was followed by disruption caused by a loud blast heard in north Tehran early on Saturday.
The blast was caused by an “unknown object” exploding in a park but no-one was hurt, Iranian state television reported.
“An unknown object exploded …There was no damage and no one was hurt,” a reporter said.
Tehran Deputy Governor Hamid Reza Goudarzi, who is in charge of security issues, visited the site.
“Just one explosion took place inside Mellat (People) Park,” he told the semi-official Tasnim news agency.
A loud blast rocked northern Tehran near the headquarters of the state broadcasting company in the early hours of Saturday morning, according to security authorities. It was uncertain if the blast was the result of an attack or accident. https://t.co/M3SGBLvP2H— New York Times World (@nytimesworld) July 10, 2021
Asked whether the incident was a terrorist attack, Goudarzi said: “We are investigating the dimensions and causes of the incident and we will provide information after we are sure.”
Attacks are rare in Iran, but a number of sensitive military and nuclear sites have been targeted in recent years.
Iran has accused Israel of several attacks on facilities and scientists linked to its nuclear programme. Israel has neither denied nor confirmed the allegations.
A state TV report said the blast was a “sound bomb,” with one of its reporters on the scene saying it “occurred in an area with no buildings or facilities”.
This article has been adapted from its original source.
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