One of Iran’s major steel companies says it foiled a cyberattack apparently targeting the country’s strategic industrial sector.
The Khuzestan Steel Company CEO Amin Ebrahimi said Monday the mill managed to thwart the cyberattack and prevent structural damage to production lines that would impact supply chains and customers.
“Fortunately with time and awareness, the attack was unsuccessful,” the Mehr news agency quoted Ebrahimi as saying, adding that he expected everything to return to “normal” by the end of Monday.
A local news channel, Jamaran, reported that the attack failed because the factory happened to be non-operational at the time due to an electricity outage.
Last year, a cyberattack on Iran’s fuel distribution targeted gas stations across the country. Officials have previously pointed the finger at the United States and Israel.
The US and Israel are widely believed to be behind the first state cyber terrorism through the Stuxnet computer virus which disrupted some of Iran's centrifuges in the country’s nuclear sites in the late 2000s. Since then, Iran has disconnected much of its government infrastructure from the internet.
Khuzestan Steel Company, based in Ahvaz in the oil-rich southwestern Khuzestan province, is a major steel producer in Iran along with two other major firms.
Founded before Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution, the company for decades afterward had some production lines supplied by German, Italian and Japanese companies. Service has been continuous except during the Iraqi war of the 1980s on Iran, when Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein sent his army across the border to occupy Khuzestan.
However, draconian sanctions on Iran have forced the company to reduce its dependence on foreign parts.
Iran’s steel exports have faced an increasingly hostile terrain in Europe where the bloc’s executive body, the European Commission, has levied trade tariffs against Iranian products.
The steel industry has been growing rapidly in recent years in line with the country’s ambitious plan to raise output to 55 million tonnes per year by 2015.