Cyber ​​attack forces Iranian steelmaker to halt production

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) – One of Iran’s biggest steel companies said on Monday it was forced to halt production after being hit by a cyberattack, apparently marking one of the biggest such attacks on the country’s strategic industrial sector. in recent memory.

State-owned Khuzestan Steel Company said experts had determined the plant would have to stop working until further notice “due to technical issues” following “cyber attacks”. The company’s website was down on Monday.

Company CEO Amin Ebrahimi stated that Khuzestan Steel was able to stop the cyber attack and prevent structural damage to production lines that would impact supply chains and customers.

“Fortunately with time and conscience, the attack was unsuccessful,” Ebrahimi told the semi-official Mehr news agency, adding that he hoped the company’s website would be restored and everything returned to “normal” by the end of Monday.

A local news outlet, Jamaran, reported that the attack failed because the factory was inoperative at the time due to a power outage.

The company did not blame any specific group for the attack, which is just the latest example of an attack targeting the country’s services in recent weeks. In a major incident last year, a cyberattack on Iran’s fuel distribution paralyzed gas stations across the country, leading to long lines of angry drivers.

Train stations in Iran were hit by false delay messages. Surveillance cameras in the country were hacked. State websites were stopped. Images showing abuse at the country’s notorious Evin Prison have been leaked.

Iran has already accused the United States and Israel of cyber attacks that hit and crippled the country’s infrastructure.

Iran disconnected much of its government infrastructure from the internet after the Stuxnet computer virus – widely considered a joint creation of the US and Israel – disrupted thousands of Iranian centrifuges at the country’s nuclear facilities in the late 2000s.

Khuzestan Steel Company, based in Ahvaz, in the oil-rich southwestern province of Khuzestan, has a monopoly on steel production in Iran, along with two other large state-owned companies. Founded before the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran, the company for decades later had some production lines supplied by German, Italian and Japanese companies.

However, crushing sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program have forced the company to reduce its reliance on foreign parts.

The government considers steel a crucial sector. Iran is the largest steel producer in the Middle East and is among the top 10 in the world, according to the World Steel Association.

Iran’s crude steel output, however, was just 2.3 million tonnes last month, the WSA said. The drop in exports was largely attributed to sanctions-hit Russia, which showered Chinese buyers from Iran with discounted steel after losing access to Western markets amid the war in Ukraine.


Associated Press writer Nasser Karimi in Tehran, Iran, contributed to this report.

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