Iranian officials said on Sunday that hackers damaged a small number of computers in a failed cyber-attack against the port of Bandar Abbas, the country’s largest port in the Strait of Hormuz.
Details about the cyber-attack’s nature remain unknown.
Last week, when the attack took place, local officials from the Ports and Maritime Organization (PMO) in the state of Hormozgan denied that anything had gone wrong.
Officials denied rumors about a cyber-attack despite complaints of port activity shutting down on Friday.
Central government officials eventually came clean about the cyber-attack on Sunday, due to media pressure following an unrelated incident that also took place in the Strait of Hormuz.
An Iranian navy support ship named Konarak was hit by friendly fire over the weekend while putting targets in the sea for a military exercise. The incident resulted in the death of 19 sailors and injuries to 15 others. Reports quickly emerged that the cyber-attack might have played a role.
Tehran officials were forced to issue a formal statement on the Bandar Abbas cyber-attack to assuage the rising conspiracy theories surrounding the unrelated Konarak tragedy.
“A recent cyber attack failed to penetrate the PMO’s systems and was only able to infiltrate and damage a number of private operating systems at the port,” said on Sunday Mohammad Rastad, Iran’s Deputy Minister of Roads and Urban Development, according to Ilna News and the Fars News Agency.
Rastad said the attack came from outside the country but did not provide other details. The deputy minister did not specify if the incident was carried out by a foreign government or by a financially-motivated cybercrime group.
This is the second time Iranian officials claim a foreign cyber-attack failed to damage computer systems.
In June 2019, the US launched cyber-attacks aimed at sabotaging Iran’s rocket and missile systems after Iranian forces shot down a US drone. The Tehran government denied they succeeded, as it was reported in US media.