Jan 18, 2021

Iran’s foreign ministry announced on Thursday that recent cyber attacks on its power facilities may have been caused by foreign governments.

“Thousands of cyber attacks are launched against the country’s infrastructures on a daily basis, which is not anything new. Most of those attacks are repulsed by our defense systems and the ‘cyber incident response teams’ without making any impact,” said Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi, according to Iran’s Tasnim news agency.

“In recent months, a couple of cyber attacks on a broader scale have been launched against the country’s infrastructures, and with the analysis of the dimensions and the technology used (in the attacks), one can say they have been sponsored or launched by governments,” he said.

Mousavi claimed that the attacks did not achieve “their main objectives,” additionally stating that the eruption over the past several weeks of explosions and fires at Iranian military, industrial and power sites had nothing to do with the cyber attacks.”

The Iranian official also threatened a response against foreign hackers.

“Iran reserves the right to take the appropriate and proportional reciprocal action at the appropriate time,” he said. “We may employ any tool to defend ourselves against the cyber attacks, including the cyberspace [sic] or other weaponry.”

According to a Washington Post report in May, Israel carried out a cyber attack that shut down one of Iran’s major ports for days, apparently in retaliation for an attempted Iranian attack the previous month on Israel’s water infrastructure. Iran denies that it was behind the failed hacking operation.

Iran and Israel have been engaged in a covert cyber war for the past decade.

The Stuxnet worm, revealed in 2010 and widely assumed to be a joint Israel-U.S. creation, is believed to have caused serious damage to Iran’s nuclear program. Last September, a general in Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps said that the “Stuxnet cyber attack had had the positive effect of ‘causing us to pay attention’ to the cyber security of its nuclear installations.”

Last November, members of Israel’s Joint Cyber Defense Division, Intelligence Directorate, air force, navy and ground forces flew to the United States for a joint drill with their American counterparts, dubbed “Cyber Dome.”