30 Sep 2013
Iranian hackers infiltrated several US Navy computers, according to American officials, who attributed the attacks to the government or a group supported by the Tehran regime. The allegations appeared as the Obama administration ramped up talks with Iran over its nuclear program.
The hacking attacks occurred in the week starting Sept. 15 and took advantage of the fact that the US Navy didn’t run security updates.
"The Pentagon wouldn't confirm the alleged Iranian hacks,” an US representative told The Wall Street Journal. “A department spokesman said its networks are attacked daily. We take these attempts seriously and work to learn lessons from every one of them. Their ability to also play in this [cyber] sandbox compounds that concern.”
According to the US officials, the cyber-attacks revealed a weakness in the Navy network and defense system, as compared to other unclassified military networks. Though the hackers didn’t manage to leak information, US Intelligence fears confidential details, including the blueprints of a new cyber weapon, could be nonetheless exposed in similar attacks.
At the same time, a study published by the Atlantic Council showed that Iranian cyber-attacks would do more damage to public perception than to the actual US infrastructure, as their capabilities are still rather modest.
Iranian officials didn't comment on the incidents. This is the second time this year when the US government points fingers at Iranian hackers. In May, senior American officials said the Iran damages US critical infrastructure by hacking major energy, gas and oil corporations.