Beirut-Rafic Al Hariri International Airport
Beirut-Rafic Al Hariri International Airport. Image:

Hackers disrupt Beirut airport with anti-Hezbollah message

Flight information display screens at Beirut’s international airport were hacked over the weekend to display politically motivated messages, and the incident also temporarily affected baggage inspection, local media reported.

The hackers replaced the plane departure and arrival data on the screens of Beirut-Rafic Al Hariri International Airport with a statement accusing the Iran-backed, Lebanon-based militant group Hezbollah of dragging Lebanon into the war with Israel.

“You bear your responsibility and its consequences, Hezbollah,” part of the message said.

Airport authorities told local media that the attack briefly disrupted the passenger baggage inspection system but did not impact the flight schedule. Lebanese media reported that hackers also sent messages to some passengers on behalf of Middle East Airlines, which the company said were fake.

Tensions between Lebanon and Israel have recently escalated, with forces exchanging fire almost every day. On Monday, an Israeli strike on Lebanon reportedly killed a senior commander in Hezbollah's elite forces. Israeli officials said earlier that they prefer to restore security in the area without going to war with Hezbollah, but that they are ready to do so if necessary.

Two domestic hacker groups are believed to be behind the airport hack: a little-known gang calling itself The One Who Spoke; and a Christian group, Soldiers of God, known for its campaigns against the LGBTQ+ community in Lebanon. The second group denied its involvement.

Local media Lebanon24 reported, citing sources involved in the investigation of the incident, that the attack could have been carried out by “external parties” who used the names of Lebanese hacker groups to cover their tracks or stir up tension. Local hackers may lack the technologies and capabilities needed to execute such an attack, according to the report.

Another anonymous security source, speaking to a Lebanese TV channel, implicated Israel as a potential culprit behind the attack.

Lebanon's minister of public works and transportation, Ali Hamieh, said during a press conference on Monday that approximately 70% of the hacked airport screens have resumed their normal work. The airport was disconnected from the internet “in order to limit the damage,” he added.

The country’s security services are investigating the hack. “The answer will be within days to determine whether the breach is internal or external,” Hamieh said.

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Daryna Antoniuk

Daryna Antoniuk

is a reporter for Recorded Future News based in Ukraine. She writes about cybersecurity startups, cyberattacks in Eastern Europe and the state of the cyberwar between Ukraine and Russia. She previously was a tech reporter for Forbes Ukraine. Her work has also been published at Sifted, The Kyiv Independent and The Kyiv Post.