American officials have told Reuters on Wednesday that the US launched a secret cyber attack against Iran after the September 14 predawn missile attacks on the Saudi oil fields, which destroyed more than half of Saudi Arabia’s output.
According to the officials, the cyber operation, in late September, which impacted computing hardware, targeted the Islamic Republic’s ability to “spread propaganda.”
Reuters noted that the cyber strike was more limited than past similar attacks on Iran which followed the downing of a US drone in June and the attack on oil tankers in the Gulf in May.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the Saudis, the UK, France and Germany have all accused Iran of being behind the attacks, for which the Iranian-backed Houthi militia in Yemen claimed responsibility. But the trajectories suggest the missiles were launched from Iran or Iraq.
Pentagon spokeswoman Elissa Smith told Reuters that “as a matter of policy and for operational security, we do not discuss cyberspace operations, intelligence, or planning.”
In August and September, a hacking group dubbed “Phosphorous,” which is likely linked to Iran, attempted to infiltrate President Trump’s re-election campaign by hacking related email accounts. The group made more than 2,700 attempts to identify these accounts, then attacked 241 of them.
According to Reuters, more than 70 websites are stealthily pushing Iranian propaganda in 15 countries.