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Trump OKs cyberattacks against Iran after pulling back from airstrikes: Report
President Donald Trump approved a series of cyberattacks against Iran on Thursday, the same day he pulled back from airstrikes that he said would have killed 150 people, according to the Daily Caller.
The cyberattacks launched by the Pentagon were aimed at taking down computer systems used to launch missiles and were deemed to have been successful.
“This operation imposes costs on the growing Iranian cyber threat, but also serves to defend the United States Navy and shipping operations in the Strait of Hormuz,” said Thomas Bossert, a former senior White House cyber official in the Trump administration.
The operation was meant to target Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, which U.S. officials say carried out attacks on oil tankers two weeks ago in the Gulf of Oman. The attack came from a newly beefed-up Cyber Command division and used new, streamlined approval procedures Trump had put in place.
Taking on Iran
On Saturday, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) warned that Iran had been stepping up its own cyber activity against the U.S. in recent days.
“There’s no question that there’s been an increase in Iranian cyber activity,” Christopher Krebs, the director of DHS’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, said in a statement. “Iranian actors and their proxies are not just your garden variety run-of-the-mill data thieves. These are the guys that come in and they burn the house down.”
The U.S. has been on high alert since April, when the FBI quietly warned the private sector that Iran might retaliate with cyberattacks after the U.S. formally designating the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist organization, the Wall Street Journal reported.
The threat of ongoing attacks is part of a ratcheting up of tensions between the two nations that started last May when Trump pulled out of an agreement struck between the U.S. and Iran in 2015 under the Obama administration. Trump also increased economic sanctions against Iran this year in an attempt to curb the Middle Eastern nation’s nuclear ambitions.
A successful attack
According to The Washington Post, Thursday’s cyberattacks had been planned for weeks or even months, and were urged by the Pentagon as a response for the Oman oil tanker attacks. The attacks were first reported by Yahoo! News on Friday night.
For its part, the administration has been tight-lipped about them other than to say that they were “very effective.”
“This is not something they can put back together so easily,” an anonymous source told the Post.
No loss of life was involved in the attacks, which Trump apparently feels is fair after the downing of an unmanned U.S. drone last week.
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