Mahan Air Of Iran Hit By Cyber Attack

Iranian carrier Mahan Air was hit by a cyberattack earlier this week. The airline claims to have prevented any damage to its operations from the attack, with no flights affected. However, there have been reports of issues since the attack took place.

Mahan Air A310
Mahan Air is Iran’s largest private airline and operates a fleet of over 40 aircraft. Photo: Getty Images

Security breach

According to the Daily Sabah, Mahan Air reported a cyberattack over the last weekend. The attack left travelers unable to access the airline’s website for hours as the carrier worked hard to restore networks. Mahan Air says it has successfully foiled the attack, which was similar to the ones it has faced in the past.

However, there has been some fallout from the attack. Reportedly, some Mahan Air passengers received text messages from a group claiming to have been behind the attack. While there is no evidence to back this up yet, there may have been a breach of sensitive customer data.

Mahan Air Getty
The airline reported no issues due to the cyberattack over the weekend. Photo: Getty Images

Meanwhile, the carrier reported no disruptions to its domestic or international flight schedules. For now, it’s unclear what the full effects of the cyberattack have been.

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Eye of the storm

Being an Iranian carrier, Mahan Air has often found its in the eye of the political storm. For over a decade now, the airline has been sanctioned by the US Treasury Department for its ties to the government. This, combined with overall sanctions, has led to great difficulty in the airline’s operations and planning.

For instance, Mahan Air cannot buy any new modern aircraft from major manufacturers like Airbus or Boeing. This explains why the airline’s average fleet age is currently 27 years, with the likes of the BAe 146, A300, and A310 still common sights in Tehran. For now, fleet modernization remains off the cards.

Boeing 747-300
Mahan Air operates the oldest passenger, 747 in service today, a 747-300. Photo: Getty Images

The sanctions also mean that Mahan Air and others cannot fly to the US but still have access to the EU market. However, strict entry restrictions mean traffic is mostly limited, and several countries have revoked permissions due to political tensions. For now, the airline is focusing on its domestic and regional international flights for nearly all of its revenues. 

More attack

Cyberattacks have only become more common in the last few years. Issues range from airline websites going offline to millions of passengers losing sensitive data to hackers. Airlines are a particularly sensitive topic since they provide a public good and can cause acute safety issues if hacked. This is why airlines have been working hard to upgrade their security protocols.

Last year, Indian low-cost giant IndiGo was held hostage by hackers, with a group claiming that they will release internal documents unless they are paid a ransom. While nothing came of this, it highlighted that airlines are not immune from the challenges faced by the wider online community and must take measures.

What do you think about the Mahan Air cyberattack? Let us know in the comments.