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Iran says second cyberattack defused within week

Cyber Intelligence (US Army/Released)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

A senior government official in Tehran says Iran has “defused” a second cyberattack against the country in less than a week.

Iranian Telecommunications Minister Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi said in a Twitter post on December 15 that the alleged attack was “identified and defused by a cybersecurity shield.”

Jahromi said the purported cyberattack was “aimed at spying on government intelligence” in Iran.

He said the “spying servers were identified and the hackers were also tracked.” He did not elaborate.

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On December 11, Jahromi told Iran’s official IRNA news agency that a “massive” and “governmental” cyberattack also targeted Iran’s electronic infrastructure.

He did not provide details about the purported attack except to say it was defused and that a report would be released.

On December 10, Jahromi dismissed reports of hacking operations targeting Iranian banks, including local media reports that the accounts of millions of clients of Iranian banks were hacked.

Iran has disconnected much of its infrastructure from the Internet after the Stuxnet computer virus, widely believed to be a joint U.S.-Israeli creation, disrupted thousands of Iranian centrifuges at the country’s nuclear sites in the late 2000s.

In June, officials in Washington said the U.S. military launched a cyberattack against Iranian military computer systems at a time when U.S. President Donald Trump was backing away from plans for a more conventional military strike in response to the downing of a U.S. surveillance drone by Iran in the strategic Persian Gulf.

Tensions have escalated between the United States and Iran since 2018 when Trump withdrew the country from Tehran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers and began a policy of “maximum pressure.”

Since then, Iran has been hit by multiple rounds of economic sanctions.

On December 15, all exceptions to U.S. sanctions expired in connections with Iran’s uranium-enrichment facility at Fordow.

That move, announced on November 18, followed Tehran’s announcement that it was resuming uranium-enrichment activities at Fordow.