Have Houthis Hacked Maritime Communications to Provide Misleading Information?

Sheba Intelligence | 2023-09-09 07:00 AM UTC


The Ansar Allah (Houthi) group has utilized jamming devices and hacked maritime communications systems to provide misleading information, a security official in the Yemen Coast Guard told Sheba Intelligence on Saturday.


The security official said, “The Houthi militia operates maritime communication systems that hack the communications of ships coming to some ports and direct them to different destinations or provide them with incorrect information. This has happened in the ports of Aden and Mukalla during the last few weeks.”


On Thursday, the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) revealed that an entity had impersonated the United Nations Verification and Inspection Mechanism for Yemen (UNVIM) to direct merchant vessels from the internationally recognized government-controlled port in Aden to the Ansar Allah (Houthi) group-controlled Hodeida port. UKMTOadvised ships to be cautious and report any suspicious activity.

The Yemeni security official refused to provide any detailed information about UKMTO’s official warning.


However, Sheba Intelligence tracked the major hacking activities that occurred in marine communications systems during the past months. On June 15, it was found that the GPS of a ship was disturbed four times when it was passing by Yemeni Jabal Zuqar Island in the Red Sea near Bab al-Mandab.


According to the Navigation Center of the US Coast Guard and the Department of Homeland Security, space weather was reviewed, and it was found that space weather was unlikely to affect the performance of the GPS of the ship at that time, which means that disturbance was caused by a particular entity as is understood from the justification of the American center.

A similar incident happened eight times in the port of Jizan in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabiaon February 8.


In August of this year, the Houthi-appointed president, Mahdi Al-Mashat, confessed that they had prevented two ships coming to the port of Aden to “plunder domestic gas,” indicating that they had informed the owners of the two ships (Cinmar Jane) and (Bolivar) that their vessels will be attacked if they take the Yemeni gas.


The Yemeni government sources told Sheba Intelligence that the Bolivar gas ship had not arrived at its ports but confirmed that the Houthis had hacked the communications system of the Sinmar Regent vessel, which the Houthi called Sinmar Jane, and directed it to Hodeidah.


When Sheba Intelligence tracked the path of Sinmar Regent, it found that the ship had arrived on September 8 at the port of Khor al-Zubair in Iraq. This ship is a liquefied gas tanker built in 1999 and currently sailing under the flag of India.