The United States military started a cyber attack on Iranian weapons systems on Thursday according to some sources. The strike was in response to Iran downing their surveillance drone. Two officials told the reporters that “The hack disabled Iranian computer systems that controlled its rocket and missile launchers and were conducted with approval from United States President Donald Trump.”
The officials did’nt revealed all details of the operation because they were not authorised to speak publicly about the cyber attack. Conflict between the United States and Iran have become high from last year, when United States withdrew from2015 nuclear deal between Iran with Iran and began a policy of maximum pressure which pulled down the economy of Iran. Two of the officials told “the attacks which specifically targeted computer systems of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, had been provided as options after two oil tankers were bombed. The IRGC has been designated a foreign terrorist group by the Trump administration.”
The cyberattacks are the latest incident in the United States and Iran’s ongoing hacking of each other. “Both sides are desperate to know what the other side is thinking.You can absolutely expect the regime to be leveraging every tool they have available to reduce the uncertainty about what’s going to happen next, about what the United States’s next move will be.” The National Security Agency said in a statement that “there have been serious issues with malicious Iranian cyber actions in the past. In these times of heightened tensions, it is appropriate for everyone to be alert to signs of Iranian aggression in cyberspace and ensure appropriate defences are in place.”
In past weeks hackers who are believed to be working for the Iranian government have aimed United States government agencies, and also sectors of the economy which includes finance, oil and gas, sending waves of spear phishing emails, according to spokesperson of cybersecurity companies CrowdStrike and FireEye which follows such activity. This new campaign appears to have started after the Trump administration urged sanctions on the Iranian petrochemical sector this month.
It’s not clear that if any of the hackers have managed to gain access to the targeted networks. Christopher Krebs the director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency said “The malicious cyberactivity was being directed at US industries and government agencies by Iranian regime actors and their proxies.” He also added “They were using ‘destructive wiper attacks’ using tactics such as “spear phishing, password spraying and credential stuffing in a bid to take control of the entire networks.” According to Washington Post reporters Iran is also trying to hack United States naval ship systems.
They also reported “After US drone’s downing Donald Trump secretly authorized United States Cyber Command to carry out a retaliatory cyber attack on Iran.” The Stuxnet virus which was discovered in 2010 is believed to have been engineered by Israel and the United States to damage nuclear facilities of Iran. Tehran is believed to have developed their own cyber capabilities to face United States’s efforts to isolate the Islamic Republic. Tehran said they shot down the US drone on Thursday after the drone violated Iranian airspace. Washington denied Iran’s statement and replied the plane was over the international waters.