Iran hacked US Navy Computers

Pierluigi Paganini September 29, 2013

US officials revealed that Iran hacked unclassified Navy computers in recent weeks in an escalation of cyber attacks against US infrastructures.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Iran hacked unclassified US Navy computers, the allegations were made by US officials that consider the attacks of most serious intrusion within Government Network made by foreign states.

“The U.S. officials said the attacks were carried out by hackers working for Iran’s government or by a group acting with the approval of Iranian leaders. The most recent incident came in the week starting Sept. 15, before a security upgrade, the officials said. Iranian officials didn’t respond to requests to comment.”

US officials sustained that Iranian hackers working for the government of Teheran have repeatedly violated computer systems within an unclassified Navy computer network for cyber espionage purpose.

Despite no sensitive information has been leaked the event is considered very concerning for US Intelligence, similar attacks could expose confidential information such as blueprints of a new cyber weapon, but could also compromise an architecture of the Defense.

Iran’s cyber abilities have increased gradually reaching a concerning level, Teheran has sufficient cyber abilities to attack the US causing serious damages to the critical infrastructures of the country. Iranian state sponsored hackers could hit critical infrastructure using malicious code and tools free available on the internet and purchased in the underground.

The study “Iran: How a Third Tier Cyber Power Can Still Threaten the United States”, published by the Atlantic Council sustains that despite the Iranian cyber capabilities are considered modest, they could be sufficient to launch attacks against the U.S.that would do more damage to public perceptions than actual infrastructure.

“Their ability to also play in this [cyber] sandbox compounds that concern,” a US official said.

US officials added that Congress has been briefed on the attack, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey discussed on the necessity further improve government network security.

“The Pentagon wouldn’t confirm the alleged Iranian hacks. A department spokesman said its networks are attacked daily. “We take these attempts seriously and work to learn lessons from every one of them,” the spokesman said.


Iran hacked

“The series of Iranian intrusions revealed a weakness in the Navy network and a shortcoming in the service’s defenses compared with other unclassified military networks, according to U.S. officials.

Once the intruders got into the Navy computer system, they were able to exploit security weaknesses to penetrate more deeply into the unclassified network, the officials said.”

Iranian state-sponsored hackers already hit US in the past, the US major banks were hit by a series of powerful DDoS attacks and energy industry computer networks were hacked, but if the event is confirmed there is the concrete risk that the cyber conflict may escalate.

Between US and Iran there is a dangerous tension that has repercussions in the cyber space while US President Barack Obama and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani are trying to define a diplomatic conduct to reach an agreement on the development of Iranian nuclear program. The two leaders spoke on Friday, from the White House Friday afternoon, Obama announced he just got off the phone with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and discussed “our ongoing efforts to reach an agreement over Iran’s nuclear program.” 

“I believe we can reach a comprehensive solution,” Obama said, adding that he has asked US Secretary of State John Kerry to continue pursuing a deal with Iran that would prohibit Tehran from pursuing the development of nuclear weapons.

“I do believe that there is a basis for a resolution,” Obama said.

“Rouhani has indicated that Iran will never develop nuclear weapons,” Obama said, hailing that sentiment as a “major step forward in a new relationship between the United States and the Islamic Republican of Iran.”

The cyber war between US and Iran started a long ago, one of most debated event is the sabotage of Iranian uranium enrichment facilities made with cyber weapon known as Stuxnet.

Cybersecurity experts are not concerned only by Iran, most dangerous players in the cyberspace like China and Russia that have more sophisticated hacking capabilities than Iran.

The conflict between US and Iran is ongoing in the cyberspace and could have serious repercussions on the diplomatic dialogue established between the two governments, a cyber attack could have the same effect of a conventional strike … this could be just the beginning.

Pierluigi Paganini

(Security Affairs –  Iran hacked US, Iran, cyber warfare)

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