THE US LAUNCHED a series of cyberattacks against Iran last week in an attempt to disable computer systems controlling the country's rocket and missile launchers.
The attacks were carried out with the approval of President Trump, according to Associated Press, and followed a series of alleged cyber-incursions by Iran against US infrastructure.
Christopher Krebs, director of the US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, claimed in a statement that there had been a "recent rise in malicious cyber activity directed at United States industries and government agencies by Iranian regime actors and proxies".
The increased cyber activity follows on from the shooting down of a US surveillance drone last week, as well as attacks on oil tankers in the Persian Gulf earlier this month, which the US claims were masterminded from Iran.
Following the shooting down of the drone, President Trump ordered air strikes on Iran, but backed down at the eleventh hour, saying that such an action would not be "proportionate". Trump also pledged to impose new sanctions on the country.
According to Associated Press, two government officials claimed that the latest cyber attacks by US Cyber Command targeted the computer systems of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.
The officials claimed that the systems controlling missile launchers were disabled following the attacks.
However, there have been no independent reports to confirm this. Iran is also yet to officially respond to the US cyber attacks.
It is not the first time that Iran has been targeted by cyber attacks by US authorities. In the late 2000s, Iran disconnected most of its infrastructure from the internet after the Stuxnet attack, which disrupted thousands of Iranian centrifuges. Those attacks were thought to be a joint operation of US and Israeli agencies, and continued well into the current decade in new forms.
In 2016, some reports also claimed that US was working on "Nitro Zeus" plan and could use it against Iran's infrastructure in future.
Tensions between Iran and the US have escalated since last year when President Trump pulled his country out of the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran. The US also imposed a series of new sanctions and economic restrictions on the country earlier this year.
Earlier this month, the US accused Iran of targeting ships in the Gulf of Oman. While, Iran rejected those claims, it said it will no longer abide by some parts of the 2015 nuclear deal either.
In a statement released on Saturday, the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) warned US industry that Iran is now targeting an increasing number of critical infrastructure sectors in the US, including oil and gas, as well as utilities.
According to cybersecurity firms FireEye and CrowdStrike, Iranian hackers have stepped up spear-phishing techniques - the first step in trying to gain a toehold on targeted networks. µ
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