June 8, 2018
Hackers opposed to Iran’s government have struck at a second Iranian airport, posting an opposition message on display screens in Tabriz, two weeks after doing the same in another big city.
State-run newspaper Iran tweeted an image Thursday, showing the hacked display screens at Tabriz International Airport in the country’s northwest. Another state-run site, Young Journalists’ Club (YJC), quoted Tabriz Governor Aliyar Rastgoo as saying the incident happened Wednesday at 9:30 p.m. local time.
A group calling itself Tapandegan, a Farsi word for “Palpitations,” claimed responsibility for the hack. A Twitter account that appears to be run by the group posted a full-screen graphic of the anti-government message four hours after the incident happened. The full-screen graphic contains white and red text on a black background with the group’s logo in the top right corner and resembles the graphic seen on the display screens in the photo tweeted by the Iran newspaper.
The message reads: “Attention, attention. We, Tapandegan, in another protest action, are currently taking control of the computer systems of this airport. Two weeks ago, in protest against the wastage of the Iranian people’s money and lives by (Iran’s) Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, we took control of the computer systems in Mashhad airport. Today, by voicing our support for Iranian strikers, we are doing the same thing. Until when will this regime deprive people of their rights to have a better livelihood and economic situation?! Until when?! We will not choke off our voices. We will continue these actions. If you support us, take a photo of this and share it. #National_strike #Truckers_strike”
Iranian truck drivers went on strike for more than a week beginning May 22 in several parts of Iran, using social media to mobilize and share images of themselves protesting low wages and rising business costs.
Rastgoo told YJC that the hackers displayed the message on the airport screens for four minutes before authorities regained control of the monitors. He said authorities were investigating who was responsible for the hack and whether it originated from inside or outside of Iran.
The main Iranian state news agency IRNA said the hackers “switched off” the Tabriz airport monitors for several minutes but made no mention of the anti-government message that was displayed.
In its first tweet on May 24, Tapandegan’s account posted a full-screen graphic of an anti-government message displayed that day on monitors at Mashhad International Airport in northeastern Iran.
The earlier message also criticized Iran’s IRGC, saying it was wasting the Iranian people’s lives and money on involvement in foreign conflicts in Gaza, Lebanon and Syria. Photos of the hacked screens in Mashhad were shared by hundreds of Iranians on social media.
Iran has seen frequent nationwide protests this year by demonstrators angered by local and national officials and business leaders who they accuse of corruption and oppression. The two anti-government hacks at Iranian airports are the only incidents of their kind since the protests began in late December.