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Israel linked to 'highly accurate' cyberattack on Iranian port: Report

Disruption caused massive backups on waterways and roads leading to Shahid Rajaee facility, US newspaper says
An Iranian safety inspector walks past stacked shipping containers at Shahid Rajaee port (File pic - AFP)

Israel appears to be behind a cyberattack earlier this month on computers at Iran's Shahid Rajaee port that caused massive backups on waterways and roads leading to the facility, the Washington Post reported on Monday.

Citing unnamed US and foreign government officials, the Post said the 9 May disruption of Iranian computers was presumably in retaliation for an earlier attempted cyberattack on rural water distribution systems in Israel.

The Israeli embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Reuters on the US newspaper's report.

Mohammad Rastad, the managing director of Iran's Ports and Maritime Organisation, told Iran's ILNA news agency last week that the cyberattack did not penetrate the organisation's computers and was only able to infiltrate and damage a number of private operating systems.

However, a foreign government security official said the attack was "highly accurate" and the damage to the Iranian port, which lies around 20km west of Bandar Abbas, was more serious than described in official Iranian accounts, according to the Post.

“There was total disarray,” a US official told the newspaper. 

The Post said is had seen satellite photographs depicting miles-long traffic jams on highways leading to port on the day of the attack. 

Days later, according to the newspaper, dozens of loaded container ships were seen in a waiting area off the coast.

The Post reported on 8 May that Iran was linked to the attempted cyberattack on the Israeli water network in April. 

The intrusion was detected and thwarted before significant damage was done, the Post said, citing officials familiar with the incident.