Iran's railway system fell prey to a cyberattack this weekend

The disruption caused chaos for train passengers.

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An Iranian woman wearing a face mask waits for a train carriage at a metro station in the capital Tehran on June 10, 2020 amid the coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic crisis. - Nearly one in five Iranians may have been infected with the novel coronavirus since the country's outbreak started in February, a health official said yesterday. The figure represents 18.75 percent of the more than 80 million population of Iran, which on June 9 announced another 74 deaths from the coronavirus. (Photo by STRINGER / AFP) (Photo by STRINGER/AFP via Getty Images)
STRINGER/AFP via Getty Images

Iran faced its own spate of cyberattacks this weekend. Reuters and The Guardian report that Iran's railway train system and transportation websites suffered a "cyber-disruption" (according to state media) on the weekend. Portal sites went down, although it's not clear just how badly the train system were affected. Officials claimed that only the train displays were compromised with fake messages, but the Fars news agency claimed there was "unprecedented chaos" that included cancellations and delays.

The sites and train systems were back to normal as of Monday morning.

It's not certain who was behind the attack, although telecom minister Mohammad Javad Azari-Jahromi alerted people to the threat of ransomware if they didn't address security vulnerabilities. Iran has historically blamed some cyberattacks on the US and Israel, although ransomware is more often the work of criminal organizations.

The US and other countries have typically pinned cyberattacks on Iran, and both sides have engaged in relatively quiet digital warfare. However, it's not clear that's the cause here — this could just represent 'ordinary' hackers exploiting weak points in Iran's infrastructure, whether to make money or create havoc.

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