President Trump ordered and then cancelled a bombing raid on Iran for downing a U.S. surveillance drone, U.S. Cyber Command launched some kind of cyber attack on an Iranian spy group that monitors shipping in the Middle East.
The group, which has ties to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, has over the past several years digitally tracked and targeted military and civilian ships passing through the economically important Strait of Hormuz, through which pass 17.4 million barrels of oil per day. Those capabilities, which have advanced over time, enabled attacks on vessels in the region for several years.
The report, which doesn’t have many specifics about the attack, fleshes out how the United State and Iran wage cyber attacks on each other in recent years.
Tehran’s ability to gather information and unleash offensive operations has developed significantly in the last decade or so, particularly after Iranian centrifuges at the Natanz uranium enrichment plant were struck by a malicious computer worm created by U.S. and Israeli intelligence and first revealed in 2010.
“After the Stuxnet event, Iran really cranked up its capability,” said Gary Brown, who served as the first senior legal counsel for U.S. Cyber Command and is currently a professor on cyber law at the National Defense University. Brown cited Iran’s cyberattacks on global financial institutions, Saudi Aramco and the Sands Casino.
Iran says no U.S. cyber attacks have succeeded.
“They try hard, but have not carried out a successful attack,” Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi, Iran’s minister for information and communications technology, said on Twitter.