Iranian hackers deface websites of African bank, US government library

Hackers claiming to be from Iran posted pro-Iranian messages and a bloodied image of US president Donald Trump being punched in the face.

Cyber hackers [illustrative] (photo credit: REUTERS)
Cyber hackers [illustrative]
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Hackers claiming to be from Iran defaced the websites of Sierra Leone Commerical Bank and the US Federal Depository Library Program, placing a pro-Iranian messages and images on the sites.
The Sierra Leone Commerical Bank's website was displayed as "H4ck3D IRANIAN HACKER" in Google search results. Screenshots posted on Twitter showed a drawing of former IRGC Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani, who was killed in a US airstrike on Friday with the words "hacked by Iranian hacker, hacked by shield Iran."
The library program's website was replaced with a bloodied image of US president Donald Trump being punched in the face, along with a message written in both Farsi and English, reading “martyrdom was [Soleimani’s]... reward for years of implacable efforts,” with another caption noting that “this is only small part of Iran’s cyber ability!” according to CBS news.
A spokesperson from the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, a section of the US Department of Homeland Security, acknowledged that the hack took place.
"We are aware the website of the Federal Depository Library Program [FDLP] was defaced with pro-Iranian, anti-US messaging," the spokesperson said in a statement. "At this time, there is no confirmation that this was the action of Iranian state-sponsored actors. The website was taken offline and is no longer accessible. CISA [the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency] is monitoring the situation with FDLP and our federal partners."
Another senior US official noted that the defacement is a small-time event that was likely carried out by Iranian sympathizers. 
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo mentioned on Friday that one possible response by Iran against the US could be a cyberattack. It is unclear whether the hackers had any official status or connection to Iran.

The hack comes amid increased tensions between the United States and Iran following the assassination of Iran Revolutionary Guards Corps Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani in a US strike in Baghdad on January 2.
Iran has since vowed to take revenge for the assassination, alluding to potential attack against US assets and interests throughout the Middle East, in addition to attacking US allies.