Iranian Airline Struck By Cyberattack

Mahan Air, one of Iran’s largest airlines, has been hit by a cyberattack. The cyberattack caused operations to go offline and lead to a possible data breach or data loss.

The firm announced the cyberattack on Twitter, though dealing with hackers is not uncommon for Mahan Airs’ IT security teams.

Customers are unable to access the airline’s website to book flights, but all international and domestic flights are running as usual without delays.

Moreover, the company claims that the attack has been thwarted successfully and in a short time, downplaying its significance and disregarding any real impact.

“Following the news of the cyberattack on the systems of Mahan Airlines, it is reported that due to the position of Mahan Airlines in the country’s aviation industry, such attacks have been carried out against this company many times and at different times, so that they may be damaged,” reads the translated tweet by Mahan airlines.

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“This is considered a normal occurrence and Mahan Cyber Security Team has always acted intelligently and in a timely manner and has thwarted these attacks. Therefore, it hereby announces that all Mahan flights will be operated according to the schedule and future flights will be operated according to the previous schedule.”

Mahan Air was added to the US sanctions list in 2011 for supporting members of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

In 2019, the US Treasury published a statement on Mahan Air’s operation, detailing the following:

“Mahan Air has transported IRGC-QF operatives, weapons, equipment, and funds abroad in support of the IRGC-QF’s regional operations, and has also moved weapons and personnel for Hizballah.”

“Since the onset of the Syrian civil war, Mahan Air has routinely flown fighters and materiel to Syria to prop up the Assad regime, which has contributed to mass atrocities and displacement of civilians.”

Although Mahan’s operations oppose American strategic interests, which led to actual military action in July 2020, the hackers responsible for the most recent incident don’t seem to be Americans.

The hacker who took responsibility for the cyberattack is ‘Hooshyarane Vatan,’ who sees IRGC as their enemy and says they fight for the rights of the Ahwaz minority (Iranian Arab minority).

Vatan claims to have stolen confidential documents that expose how the airline has worked with the IRGC and threatened to publish names, numbers, and proof of Mahan’s activities.

“Hacking Mahan Airlines is the first step of a program to stop the looting and encroachments of the corrupt corps on the city and the people of Ahvaz and Khuzestan. With the confidential documents we have obtained from the internal network of Mahan Airlines, we will prove our claim of Mahan complicity in the criminal activities of the IRGC, and we will also show that the Quds force is looting the money and resources of the people and the country of Iran among insurgent groups,” reads a translated text from the alleged hackers.

“And the foreign militia squanders money and at the same time uses the same oppressed people as cover for the air transport of weapons, equipment and ammunition.”

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As the actors wrote on their Telegram channel, they have proof of the airline hiding military shipments in civilian flights to secure them from attacks.

This reporting culminated with the indictment of two Iranian cyber-actors who attempted to influence American voters between September and November 2020, promoting false information under the ‘Proud Boys’ attire.

Both of the identified actors allegedly worked for a cybersecurity company that provided services to the Iranian government.

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