Iran accuses Israel of launching new cyber attack

Iran’s Telecommunications minister accused Israel of targeting the country's communications infrastructure.

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November 5, 2018 14:00
2 minute read.
Computer code and an Israeli flag

Computer code and an Israeli flag. (photo credit: JPOST STAFF)

 
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Iran’s telecommunications minister accused Israel of a new cyberattack on the Islamic Republic, the same day that US sanctions (which were lifted by the 2015 nuclear deal ) were reimposed. This comes days after Iran said it had neutralized a new version of the Stuxnet virus.

In a series of tweets, Telecommunication Minister Mohammad Javad Azeri Jahromi blamed Israel for the attack, saying it targeted Iran’s communications infrastructure and that Iran would sue for the cyberattack via international bodies.

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“The Zionist regime, with its dark record of using cyber weapons such as Stuxnet computer virus, launched a cyberattack on Iran on Monday to harm the country’s communication infrastructures,” Jahromi said in a tweet on Monday, adding that “thanks to the vigilance of [Iranian] technical teams, it [Israel] returned empty-handed.”

According to Iran’s Tasnim news agency, Jahromi’s deputy Hamid Fattahi said that more details of the alleged Israeli cyber strikes would be made public in the coming days. Last week, General Gholam Reza Jalali, head of the military unit in charge of combating sabotage, said that President Hassan Rouhani’s cell phone had been tapped, and would be replaced with a more secure device.

In response to the alleged bugging, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei was quoted by Iranian State TV as urging defense officials to step up counter-intelligence efforts against “the enemy’s complex practices,” and urged security bodies to “confront infiltration through scientific, accurate, and up-to-date action.”

According to a report by Iran’s semi-official ISNA’s report carried out by Al Jazeera, Iran also neutralized a potent new version of the Stuxnet virus, which in 2011 destroyed thousands of centrifuges which were involved in Iran’s nuclear program. While no country has acknowledged being behind the attack, it was widely believed to have been carried out by the US and Israel.

“Recently we discovered a new generation of Stuxnet, which consisted of several parts... and was trying to enter our systems,” Jalali said.

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The latest alleged cyberattacks came as the Trump administration reimposed oil and financial sanctions against Iran, and added 300 new designations on the country’s oil, shipping, insurance and banking sectors. “The Iran sanctions are very strong; they are the strongest sanctions we have ever imposed,” Trump said at a campaign rally for the midterm elections. “And we will see what happens with Iran, but they’re not doing very well, I can tell you.”

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman welcomed the restored sanctions, saying in a tweet that they would be a “critical blow” to Iran’s military presence around the Middle East.

“President Trump’s bold decision is the sea-change the Middle East has been waiting for. In a single move, the United States is dealing a critical blow to Iran’s entrenchment in Syria, Lebanon, Gaza, Iraq and Yemen,” he wrote. “President Trump, you’ve done it again! Thank you.”

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