Iran ‘foils second cyber-attack in a week’

A digital screen displays a live cyber-hack attack during a press conference at the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) in Wiesbaden, Germany, 11 November 2019Image copyright

Image caption

Cyber-attacks aim to take over – or cripple – entire computer systems

Iran has foiled a second cyber-attack in less than a week, the country’s telecommunications minister says.

Mohammad Javad Azari-Jahromi announced on Twitter that the cyber-attack had targeted Iranian electronic government systems.

The minister did not give details. A similar claim was made about Wednesday’s “massive” attack.

In June this year, Iran’s weapons systems came under a cyber-attack, US media reports suggested.

What was attacked in Iran?

Mr Jahromi said a cybersecurity project known as the “Dejfa fortress” had managed to thwart the attack which had used the “well-known APT27” – which experts have linked to Chinese-speaking hackers.

Without giving further details, the minister said servers and hackers had been “tracked”.

Last Wednesday, Mr Jahromi told Iran’s official Irna news agency that a “massive” cyber-attack had targeted Iran’s electronic infrastructure.

A day earlier, the minister had dismissed reports that millions of Iranian bank accounts had been hacked.

Why did the US attack Iran in June?

According to the Washington Post newspaper, the US attack in June disabled computer systems controlling rocket and missile launchers.

It was in retaliation for the shooting down of a US drone as well as attacks on oil tankers that the US has blamed Iran for, the New York Times said.

Image copyright

Image caption

The attack targeted rocket and missile systems operated by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps

The US is set to impose further sanctions on Iran that President Trump has described as “major”.

He said the sanctions were needed to prevent Tehran from obtaining nuclear weapons, and economic pressure would be maintained unless Tehran changed course.

  • Iran nuclear crisis in 300 words
  • US-Iran relations: A brief history
  • How US sanctions have hit Iran

Tensions between the US and Iran have risen since the US last year pulled out of a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers and reinstated sanctions, triggering economic meltdown in Iran.

US officials have also accused “Iranian regime actors and their proxies” of “malicious cyber-activity” directed at US industries and government agencies.