The US has responded to a recent rise in Iranian cyber-activity and the shooting of an unarmed drone last week by launching cyber-attacks against Iran's military IT systems.
The cyber-attacks were carried out by US Cyber Command with the direct approval of US President Donald Trump, the Associated Press reported on Sunday, citing two inside sources, and confirming the report through a third Pentagon official.
US Cyber Command targeted the Iran military's computer systems used to control some of the country's rocket and missile launchers.
The systems are managed by Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), a branch of Iran's Armed Forces, which the US Presidency designated as a terrorist organization last year.
The AP reported that the US cyber-attacks were the second go-to measure after President Trump backed off from launching a military strike against Iranian military and radar bases last week, on Thursday.
The White House initially planned to strike back against Iran using military kinetic force after Iran used a surface-to-air missile to shot down an expensive US surveillance drone (RQ-4A Global Hawk) last week. The US claimed the drone was in international waters, while Iran claimed it had broken into its air space.
The US cyber-attack was first reported by Yahoo News shortly after President Trump called off the military strike, with the AP revealing the targets of this attack on Sunday.
The cyber-attack also came after news broke that Iranian hackers had increased their efforts in targeting US critical infrastructure following rising political tensions between the two states over the past few months.
Over the weekend, the Department of Homeland Security cyber-security agency (CISA) warned US businesses to take protective measures to protect against the go-to tactics of Iranian hackers, such as the use of data-wiping malware, credential stuffing attacks, password spraying, and spear-phishing.
Last week's cyber-attack aimed at Iran is not the first time that the US' cyber forces have hit the Middle Eastern country. In 2010, the US and Israel deployed the Stuxnet worm against Iranian nuclear facilities and successfully delayed the country's nuclear weapons program by sabotaging uranium enrichment infrastructure.
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