December 26, 2012
Iran Fights Off New Attack From Enemy Hackers
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
Iran, which has been targeted in several hacks over the past few years, has been busy battling yet another Stuxnet cyber attack over the past few months, according to the NY Times. This time, an Iranian official is saying foreign enemy hackers have been targeting the southern coast of Iran, home to many important industries, as well as the Culture Ministry Information Center.
Though various accounts of these attacks have not given specifics as to how these attacks were carried out or how Iranian officials were able to defend themselves against them, the BBC is now reporting that Tehran is directly blaming Israel and the United States.
The Iranian Students´ News Agency (ISNA) has also confirmed that these attacks were aimed against a power plant in the southern Hormozgan Province, as well as other unspecified manufacturing industries. A large oil refinery is also located in this province.
According to the ISNA, Iran´s Passive Defense Organization, the military unit responsible for warding off such cyber-attacks, had been battling off various attacks over the past few months.
Speaking in a news conference, Ali Akbar Akhavan, the head of the Passive Defense Organization´s provincial branch confirmed these attacks and said the Organization was able to defend themselves against these threats.
"The Bandar Abbas electricity supply company has come under cyber-attack," said Akhavan. "But we were able to prevent its expansion owing to our timely measures and the co-operation of skilled hackers."
Another news source, the Fars News Agency, has also said the nation has been experiencing cyber attacks.
According to that news outlet, the information center of the Headquarters for Supporting and Protecting Works of Art and Culture has also been attacked by the Stuxnet worm in recent months. Fars also reports that these attacks were thwarted thanks to “headquarters´ experts.”
According to the Fars account, this attack originated in Dallas, Texas and made its way to Iran by way of Malaysia and Vietnam. Fars further noted that these attacks are believed to not only be staged by the Israel and the US, but designed there as well.
The Stuxnet virus has before been used to target Iran´s nuclear program as well as their oil industry. More than two years ago, the Stuxnet trojan worm was used to attack the nation´s nuclear plants, causing their centrifuges to spin up uncontrollably and self-destruct.
The Trojan worm disguises itself as a safe application and is spread by USB thumb drives, giving it easy passage from one network to the next. Soon after the initial attack against the nuclear plants, many officials and security experts began to suspect the US had a hand in its creation in order to slow down Iran´s nuclear progress. Since then, Stuxnet and a similar virus known as Flame has been used to target Iran´s oil industry as well as continue attacks against Iran´s Science Ministry, which is responsible for their nuclear program.
Iran has been keeping a careful watch on their networks ever since the first Stuxnet attack and has continued to bear the brunt of such attacks. Late last year, Iran had claimed some of their networks had been attacked and infected with another kind of malware known as Duqu which may have stolen data used to launch even more attacks.