While it doesn’t fall in the category of “harsh revenge” threatened by Iran for the killing of infamous terrorist General Qassem Soleimani, there are reports that a group claiming to be hackers from Iran breached an obscure U.S. government website on Saturday and posted a page entitled “Iranian Hackers!”
The page displayed images of the Islamic Republic’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the Iranian flag, and President Trump being punched.
BREAKING: U.S. government website operated by the Federal Depository Library Program hacked and defaced by “Iranian hackers” pic.twitter.com/PtkLL9qovT
— BNO News (@BNONews) January 5, 2020
The fdlp.gov website, that has now been taken offline, is for the Federal Depository Library Program. The FLDP is a program that provides federal government publications to the public at no cost.
“Martyrdom was his (Shahid Soleimani’s) reward for years of implacable efforts,” read a caption on a crude image showing US President Trump being punched by an Iranian military fist as missiles fly by.
The caption continued: “With his departure and with God’s power, his work and path will not cease and severe revenge awaits those criminals who have tainted their filthy hands with his blood and blood of the other martyrs of last night’s incidents.”
“We will not stop supporting our friends in the region,” another image caption read. “… the oppressed people of Palestine, the oppressed people of Yemen, the people and the Syrian government, the people and government of Iraq, the oppressed people of Bahrain, the true mujahideen resistance in Lebanon and Palestine; [they] always will be supported by us,” a statement attributed to Khamenei.
“This is only a small part of Iran’s cyber ability!” another caption on the page read in white text on a black background, according to the Daily Mail.
According to cybersecurity officials, other website breaches have taken place at the hands of Iranian-backed hackers in the last few days, to include Sierra Leone Commercial Bank, the Taiwan Lung Meng Technology Company, the Human Rights Protection Association of India, and UK company Bigways.
A worst-case scenario cybersecurity officials warn, would be that escalating tensions between Iran and the West would cause Iran to conduct dangerous cyberattacks on transit systems, oil and gas plants, power grids, and manufacturing facilities. Businesses and government agencies are being warned to be extra vigilant.
Iranian-backed hackers are not to be underestimated, as they are said to be among the world’s most aggressive, with the capability to inject malware that could cause major disruptions to the U.S. public and private sector.
That malevolent capacity was demonstrated several years ago, as reported by the Mail: “In 2012 and 2013, in response to U.S. sanctions, Iranian state-backed hackers carried out a series of disruptive denial-of-service attacks that knocked offline the websites of major U.S. banks including Bank of America as well as the New York Stock Exchange and NASDAQ. Two years later, they wiped servers at the Sands Casino in Las Vegas, crippling hotel and gambling operations.”
It’s unclear who is actually responsible for the FDLP website attack, but according to one investigator, the hackers are “skids” …
I got curious wanted to see who the idiot “hackers” were
They are Iranian
Some located in Lebanon, Iran, France [group of them]
They are a bunch of SKIDS!
They been defacing sites for yrs & still suck at it
Found some of their social media profiles & they post tutorials 😅. pic.twitter.com/1Y1YaHqG30
— ☤𝓢𝒌𝓪𝓲☤ (@Ravagiing) January 5, 2020
Regardless of who got into the FDLP site, the risk of cyber attacks by Iran is real. After the death of Soleimani, DHS Cybersecurity Director Christopher Krebs warned companies and government agencies to be on the ball and “brush up” on their knowledge of Iranian state-backed hackers’ past methods.
Given recent developments, re-upping our statement from the summer.
Bottom line: time to brush up on Iranian TTPs and pay close attention to your critical systems, particularly ICS. Make sure you’re also watching third party accesses! https://t.co/4G1P0WvjhS
— Chris Krebs (@CISAKrebs) January 3, 2020
In June, Krebs had warned of a rise in malicious Iranian cyber activity, particularly attacks using methods like spear-phishing that could erase entire networks. “What might start as an account compromise, where you think you might just lose data, can quickly become a situation where you’ve lost your whole network,” he said.
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