ICBPS– Russian hackers piggy-backed on the Islamic Republic of Iran’s cyber-espionage operation to attack government and industry organizations in dozens of countries while masquerading as attackers from Islamic Republic of Iran, British, and U.S. officials said on October 21, 2019.
The Russian group, known as “Turla” and accused by Estonian and Czech authorities of operating on behalf of Russia’s FSB security service, has used Iranian tools and computer infrastructure to successfully hack into organizations in at least 20 different countries over the last 18 months”, British security officials continued.
Iran’s regime is known as one of the top cyber-terrorist governments in the world. Cyberwarfare is a part of Iran’s “soft war” military strategy. Being wager of cyberwarfare, Iran is considered an emerging military power in the field. In Iran, three military organizations play leading roles in cyber operations: the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), the Basij, and Iran’s “Passive Defense Organization (NPDO).”
The IRGC is the perpetrator behind a series of incidents aimed at American targets, critical Israeli infrastructure, Saudi Arabia, and the other Persian Gulf States. The Basij, a civilian paramilitary organization, controlled by the IGRC, manages what Basij leaders say are 120,000 cyberwar volunteers. The number is probably exaggerated, but the Basij uses its connections with universities and religious schools to recruit a proxy hacker force. The NPDO is responsible for infrastructure protection. To ensure coordination between cyber offense and defense, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei created a “Supreme Council of Cyberspace” composed of senior military and intelligence officials. According to a 2014 report by Israel’s Institute for National Security Studies, Iran is “one of the most active players in the international cyber arena”.
“The Israeli military faces thousands of cyberattacks a day, and many are orchestrated by Iran whose hacking capabilities are improving,” said Major General Nadav Padan, who heads the military’s command, control, computer, communications and intelligence (C4I) plus cyber division. “They are not state of the art, they are not the strongest superpower in the cyber dimension, but they are getting better and better,” Padan continued.
Western analysts have accused the Iranian government of its cyber-attacks against the United States, Israel, and Arab countries, including specific allegations of 2012 involvement in hacking into American banks. The conflict between Iran and the United States has been called “history’s first known cyber-war” by Michael Joseph Gross mid-2013.
In August 2014, An IDF official announced that Iran had launched numerous significant attacks against Israel’s Internet infrastructure. Again on March 31, 2015, the Iranian Cyber Army pushed a massive power outage for 12 hours in 44 of 81 provinces of Turkey, holding 40 million people. Istanbul and Ankara were among the places suffering blackouts. In June 2017, The Daily Telegraph reported that intelligence officials concluded that Iran was responsible for a cyberattack on the British Parliament lasting 12 hours that compromised around 90 email accounts of MPs. The motive for the attack is unknown, but experts suggested that the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps could be using cyberwarfare to undermine the Iran nuclear deal.
Bahrain is one of the neighboring states to fell victim to cyberattacks in the Middle East. Late 2019, the authorities in Bahrain disclosed that both government departments and critical infrastructure sites were under cyberattacks, probably by hackers linked to Iran.
Iran’s Latest Cyber-Attacks in the Recent Months
Hackers linked to Iran’s regime target WHO staff emails during coronavirus, according to the news released in April. Hackers working in favor of Iran’s authorities have attempted to break into the personal email accounts of staff at the World Health Organization during the COVID19 outbreak.
IRI-linked hackers targeted Coronavirus drugmaker Gilead, sources reported in May. The hackers targeted staff at the U.S. drugmaker Gilead Sciences Inc as the company races to deploy a treatment for the COVID19 virus.
Tehran tried to increase chlorine levels in the water flowing to residential areas during April’s cyberattack against Israeli water systems that hundreds of people would had been at risk of getting sick, and that the attack was close to being successful.
In May, news agencies reported that British institutions fighting COVID19 was subject to cyberattacks traced back to Russia and Iran. The hackers targeted U.K. universities attempting to produce vaccines and testing kits as well as scientists and doctors studying the virus.