Iranian cybersecurity group begins cyberattacks against the U.S. by a series of low-level cyber-attacks on U.S. government websites.
This may be the beginning of Iran’s threatened retaliation for the death of General Qassem Soleimani, who was killed in the U.S. remotely piloted aircraft strike while he visited Iraq last week.
The Federal Depository Library at www.fdlp.gov was offline as of Sunday, January 5, 2020, at 1500 local time in the Midwestern U.S. The website home page showed a message that said, “ERROR 521: Web Server is Down”.
Some media reports, including CBS and CNN, reported that the website briefly displayed a picture of Donald Trump being punched in the face, along with a message from ‘the Islamic Republic of Iran’.
Below the President’s bleeding face were the words ‘Hacked by Iran Cyber Security Group Hackers’ and ‘this is only a small part of Iran’s cyber ability’.
The chilling warning said ‘martyrdom was (Suleimani’s)… reward for years of implacable efforts’. ‘With his departure and with God’s power, his work and path will not cease and severe revenge awaits those criminals who have tainted their filthy hands with his blood and blood of the other martyrs,’ it said. However, a US government spokesperson said ‘there is no confirmation’ this attack came from Iran, the Mirror reports.
The images are no longer visible in the U.S. on the Federal Depository Library website, only the error message as the website remains offline.
In a statement published Saturday, January 4, 2020, on the official Department of Homeland Security website, Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad F. Wolf said that “At this time there is no specific, credible threat against the homeland. The Department issued this bulletin to inform, share protective measures, and reassure the American public, state and local governments, and private sector partners that the Department of Homeland Security is actively monitoring and preparing for any specific, credible threat, should one arise”.
The U.S. Selective Service System website, at www.sss.gov, was also down as of 1515 local time in the Midwestern U.S. on Sunday, with the page loading incorrectly after a protracted wait. It was not clear whether the system had been compromised by a deliberate cyber-attack, such a denial of service operation, or if an extraordinary volume of traffic prompted by social media stories rumors of the U.S. reinstated the military draft had caused the interruption in service.
Iran has vowed harsh vengeance over a US airstrike in Baghdad that killed the leader of the Quds force general Qassem Soleimani. Soleimani regarded as the second most powerful figure in Iran and held celebrity status for his role in shaping foreign policy in the Middle East.
As the world holds its breath to see how Iran responds Trump made it clear any retaliation could have deathly consequences.