U.S. defense and intelligence officials have vaguely fingered Iran as the source of recent cyberattacks against U.S. banks and the oil industry in the Middle East, Mike Mount reports for CNN.
Publicly, officials have only said the attacks were traced from a state actor and not specifically traced Iran’s direct participation to the attacks, Mount reports.
Mount cites an official intelligence source that said the U.S. believes surrogate programmers behind the code may be working with the government.
Mehdi Ahkavan Bahabadi, the director of the Iran Cyberspace Center, said on a state-run TV station that Iran was not involved in the attacks on the oil companies and also accused the U.S. of involvement in the Stuxnet attacks.
During a visit to New York City last week, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said the U.S. needs to strengthen its cyber defenses ahead of potentially debilitating attacks, citing a virus that hit energy companies in Saudi Arabia and Qatar over the summer.
Saudi Arabia’s ARAMCO reported that over 30,000 of their computers were infected and RasGas, based in Qatar, also confirmed their damages.
In a speech to business leaders in New York, Panetta said large U.S. banks recently suffered a quick and disruptive denial of service attack against customers.
Mount reports officials have confirmed no substantial financial damage resulted from the attack, but U.S. intelligence personnel are on alert for a potential retaliatory strike against the U.S. banking system.
The New York Times reports U.S. officials are concentrating their distrust on an Iranian unit called “cybercorps,” allegedly assembled to counter American and Israeli cyberattacks against the Iranian nuclear enrichment plant at Natanz.