Iran’s support for Russia draws the attention of pro-Ukrainian hackers

Iran’s support for Russia draws the attention of pro-Ukrainian hackers

Pro-Ukrainian hacktivists were in a foul mood on New Year’s Day.

The day before, Ukrainian air defense forces shot down a total of 45 drones – many of them supplied by Iran – but rocket blasts rocked Kyiv and other population centers as much of the world rang in the new year.

In response, pro-Ukrainian hacktivists claimed to launch distributed denial-of-service attacks on several Iranian websites, including the website of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC).

“Iranians, it’s not your war, get off and fuck off,” a group of pro-Ukraine hackers and cyber security specialists wrote on Telegram.

Typically, DDoS attacks carried out by hacktivists last minutes to hours and have no real impact on the targeted services. The attacks flood victims’ websites with fake traffic, making them temporarily unavailable. Neither the NIOC nor Iran’s leadership have confirmed the alleged cyberattacks on their systems, although the country said it had stopped similar attacks in recent days.

This does not bother Ukrainian hacktivists – they said they will continue to launch attacks until Iran stops supplying Russia with drones. “Each bombardment will be punished with a cyber attack on your critical infrastructure,” the pro-Ukrainian hackers wrote. “We work with the international community and know where your weaknesses are.”

On January 6, Iran said it stopped a wave of DDoS attacks on its central bank and domestic messaging apps – Rubika and Bale.

“These days, the largest volume of foreign attacks are against banks and financial institutions, internet providers and communications infrastructures, which have been repelled,” Amir Mohammadzadeh Lajevardi, head of Iran’s Infrastructure Communications Company, told the state-run IRNA news agency.

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It is not yet clear who is behind these attacks and whether they are linked to the attacks on NIOC and Iran’s government websites.

Iran has become a popular target for hacktivists after anti-government protests sparked by the death in police custody of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who was arrested for “improperly” wearing her hijab.

Anonymous and other hacker groups have claimed cyber attacks on the Iranian government and private companies that support the regime.

Earlier in September, Anonymous claimed responsibility for cyber attacks against Iran’s central bank and the Ministry of Culture. The hackers also claimed to have hacked other Iranian government agencies, but provided no evidence.

Daryna Antoniuk is a freelance reporter for The Record based in Ukraine. She writes about cyber security startups, cyber attacks in Eastern Europe and the state of the cyber war between Ukraine and Russia. She was previously a technology reporter for Forbes Ukraine. Her work has also been published in Sifted, The Kyiv Independent and The Kyiv Post.

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