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Beirut Airport Cybersecurity Incident: How It Unfolded

On Sunday January 7, Rafic Hariri International Airport’s screens began displaying political messages instead of flight information.

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beirut airport cybersecurity incident how it unfolded

On Sunday evening, January 7, 2024, Beirut’s Rafic Hariri International Airport experienced a cyber attack that resulted in political messages appearing on its departure and arrival screens, disrupting normal flight information and temporarily halting luggage belt operations.

Lebanon’s Minister of Public Works and Transport, Ali Hamieh, addressed the public the following day, expressing a commitment to uncovering the perpetrators of the incident and reassuring the public that the airport remained fully operational.

beirut airport cyberattack january 2024

Meanwhile, Fadi El-Hassan, Director General of Civil Aviation, reported that the issues with the airport’s screens had been resolved, and normal functionality had been restored across passenger terminals, including arrival and departure halls.

Despite these developments, official statements from Lebanese authorities regarding the incident were yet to be released, as investigations continued under the oversight of the Lebanese security services, as confirmed by Minister Ali Hamieh.

As of now, no information has surfaced regarding the compromise of airport data, such as flight details, passenger records, or other sensitive information. However, technical experts at SMEX, a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing digital human rights across West Asia and North Africa, say that the severity of the cyberattack reveals clues on the motives behind it.

Also Read: The Largest Data Breaches In The Middle East

Members of SMEX’s technical team raised concerns about the cyber breach, stating, “If the perpetrators were able to manipulate screen content and disrupt the Baggage Handling System (BHS), it indicates the possible presence of malware within the compromised system”.

SMEX’s technical experts have also outlined several conceivable scenarios for the attack:

  • The breach may have originated from the airport’s internal network, possibly involving the installation of malicious software by an individual with insider access to the airport’s systems.
  • Another possibility is the compromise of an employee’s device through social engineering or a phishing attack, typically delivered via email or other deceptive means.
  • An employee with privileged system access might have been coerced or manipulated through blackmail, bribery, or threats, facilitating unauthorized entry into the airport’s systems.

Lebanese authorities have yet to pinpoint the root cause of the airport cyberattack, leaving room for speculation about potential sources, which may include internal, external, or even governmental actors.

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Lebanese Newspaper Builds AI President To Beat Political Crisis

The move by media outlet AnNahar comes after 13 failed attempts by the Lebanese parliament to elect a new leader.

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lebanese newspaper builds ai president to beat political crisis
OurPresident.ai

In a world first, Lebanon’s AnNahar Newspaper has built an artificial intelligence model designed to carry out presidential duties for the politically troubled country. Lebanon has been without a sitting president for two years after thirteen failed attempts by the nation’s parliament to elect a suitable candidate.

The new AI President’s deep learning algorithm was fed over 90 years of impartial journalism from AnNahar’s archive stretching back to the 1930s. The AI leader analyzes not only historical data but also current events and is able to formulate solutions for all manner of political, legal, and governmental questions. By tapping into such a vast knowledge base, Lebanon’s AI President will have a deep understanding of the country’s past, as well as an unbiased take on the challenges the nation faces going forward.

lebanon our president ai platform annahar

The new AI President was unveiled in a recent live broadcast. Nayla Tueni, editor-in-chief of AnNahar Newspaper conducted an interview with the digital leader, asking relevant questions about the current state of Lebanon, and how to fix the country’s difficult political situation. AnNahar has also converted its print newspaper to focus entirely on the new president’s guidance on issues spanning everything from the economy to sustainability and the environment.

Also Read: Abu Dhabi To Develop $1 Billion eSports Island Facility

After the interview, Nayla Tueni commented: “As Lebanese people, and especially at AnNahar, we refuse to sit back and allow things to go on as they have. To not have a president for this long is unacceptable and has impacted the country negatively. If the parliament will not do its job to elect a president, then the people will bring to Lebanon a president”.

The AI President will soon be accessible to everyone at OurPresident.ai, Users will be able to ask questions in a similar manner to the likes of ChatGPT and Google Gemini. It is also understood that government officials will also use the tool to help devise new directives.

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