In the wake of the September 14’s attack on Saudi Arabia’s oil installations, the United States of America has carried out a “secret” cyber operation against Iran, which Riyadh and Washington have blamed on Tehran, informed the US officials.
Two US officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity have informed that the operation took place at the end of last month, which amid at the ability of Tehran to spread “propaganda”.
One of the US officials has claimed that the strike affected physical hardware but didn’t offer further details.
It further highlighted how the United States President Donald Trump’s administration has been trying hard to counter what it considers as Iranian aggression without entering into a broader conflict.
It seems more limited than other such operations against Iran in 2019, after the downing of a US “spy” drone in June and reportedly attacks by Iranian Revolutionary Guards on oil tankers in the Gulf Kingdom in May.
Saudi Arabia, Britain, Germany, the United States of America, and France have publicly blamed the attacks on Iran, which refused involvement in the strike. However, the Iran-aligned Houthi Militant Outfit in Yemen has claimed responsibility.
The Pentagon has replied publicly by sending thousands of additional troops and equipment to bolster Saudi Arabia’s defenses – the latest US posting to the region in 2019. But it has refused to comment about the cyber strike.
The Pentagon spokesperson Elissa Smith has said, “As a matter of policy and for operational security, we do not discuss cyberspace operations, intelligence, or planning.”
The impact of the attack could take months to determine, but the cyber-attacks are considered as a less-provocative option below the threshold of war.
A Cyber Expert of Center for Strategic and International Studies, James Lewis has said, “You can do damage without killing people or blowing things up; it adds an option to the toolkit that we didn’t have before and our willingness to use it is important.”
He continued that it may be impossible to deter Iran’s behavior with even conventional military strikes.
Tensions in the Gulf region have sharply escalated since May 2018, when the US President has withdrawn from the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action with Tehran, which limited the nuclear program in exchange to ease sanctions.
Hence, it was doubtful whether there have been other cyber attacks since the one in September.
Iran has also used such plans against America. The hacking outfits that seem to have been connected with the Iranian Government have tried to invade email accounts related to Donald Trump’s re-election campaign.
Around 30-days in August and September, the outfit that Microsoft dubbed “Phosphorous,” made nearly 2700 attempts to identify consumer accounts, then attacked 241 of them. Tehran is also considered as a key player in spreading disinformation.
Tensions with Iran have been escalating since the September 14’s attack, in which Tehran has claimed that Iran’s oil tanker was hit by rockets in the Red Sea last week and warned of consequences.
On Monday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has reiterated the nation’s policy towards President Trump’s administration, ruled out bilateral discussion unless Washington has returned to the landmark nuclear deal and lifts crippling the US economic sanctions.