Contradictory reports say Iran may have been hit by hackers, indicate attacks come from Israel and U.S.
By End the Lie
On Christmas day several reports hit the internet indicating that Iran was yet again targeted by what appeared to be the now infamous Stuxnet worm.
UPDATE: See below for information indicating that original reports regarding cyberattacks on Iran could be false.
This is hardly surprising given that there have been a wide range of cyberattacks on Iran since the original Stuxnet attack over two years ago, including malware clearly focused on attacking Iran, some of which is based on Stuxnet.
It is quite interesting how all of this is springing up after the Department of Defense and research groups like the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) have begun to focus on cyberwarfare.
However, the Associated Press reported today, Dec. 26, that the attack was actually stopped successfully, citing a quote published in Iranian news outlet ISNA (translated and published by AFP) from provincial civil defense chief Ali Akbar Akhavan.
“Tehran has said both worms [meaning Stuxnet and Flame] are part of a secret U.S.-Israeli program that seeks to destabilize Iran’s nuclear program,” the Associated Press added.
Indeed, the New York Times reported that accounts in the official Iranian press “strongly suggested that the attacks had originated in the United States and Israel, which have been engaged in a shadowy struggle of computer sabotage with Iran in a broader dispute over whether Iran’s nuclear energy program is for peaceful or military use.”
However, as I recently pointed out:
[T]he Iranian nuclear program, according to Israeli officials, is not aimed at obtaining a nuclear weapon. The supposed Iranian ambition to obtain nuclear weapons has also been debunked by U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta (on two separate occasions) and the U.S. intelligence community.
Yet IDG News Service reported on Dec. 26 that the reports of the attack targeting Bandar Abbas Tavanir Co. have been called into question by the source of the original reports himself.
“At a press conference we announced readiness to confront cyber attacks against Hormuzgan installations, which was mistakenly reported by the agencies as a cyber attack having been foiled,” said Akhavan, according to AFP.
ISNA, in response, published the MP3 files of what they said were Akhavan’s initial remarks while adding that they maintain the original story was accurate.
“In a further twist, however, ISNA also published a third report that, according to a machine translation, quoted other Iranian officials as saying there had been no attacks on electrical installations in the region,” according to IDG News Service.
As IDG News Service points out, these contradictory reports seem similar to a “report in late July that a virus was causing computers at the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran to play AC/DC song ‘Thunderstruck’ at full volume [which was] roundly dismissed the following week by the organization’s director, Fereydoun Abassi.”
The veracity of the reports is indeed questionable but it’s hardly unusual for Iran to be targeted by an apparently Western cyberattack.
It seems that more information will have to be obtained before these attacks can be either confirmed or denied with any amount of certainty.
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