Hackers post image of a bloodied Trump and pro-Iran messages after taking control of US government website
Tensions between the US and Iran have escalated following an airstrike that targeted and killed Qassem Soleimani, the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards’ elite Quds Force.
Hackers believed to be working for the Iranian government attacked a website operated by the US government and defaced it, condemning the assassination of Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps commander Major General Qassem Soleimani.
The website for the Federal Depository Library Program, fdlp.gov, which was created to make federal government publications available at no cost, was hacked on Saturday, January 4, and was taken offline, according to the Daily Mail.
The hackers left behind a message on the website which read, "in the name of god. >>>>> Hacked By Iran Cyber Security Group HackerS ... ;)<<<<<. This is only small part of Iran's cyber ability! We're always ready."
Another message "from the Islamic Republic of Iran" read, "We will not stop supporting our friends in the region: the oppressed people of Palestine, the oppressed people of Yemen, the people and the Syrian government, the people and government of Iraq, the oppressed people of Bahrain, the true mujahideen resistance in Lebanon and Palestine; [they] always will be supported by us."
The clearest indication that this hack was in retaliation to a US airstrike killing Soleimani, the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards’ elite Quds Force, was an image they uploaded of President Donald Trump's bloodied face being punched by a fist bearing the Revolutionary Guard insignia.
A caption on the picture read, "Martyrdom was his (Shahid Soleymani) reward for years of implacable efforts. With his departure and with God's power, his work and path will not cease and severe revenge awaits those criminals who have tainted their filthy hands with his blood and the blood of other martyrs of last night's incident."
This was not the first hacking carried out by Iranian-backed forces, with the websites for Sierra Leone Commercial Bank, the Taiwan Lung Meng Technology Company, and the Human Rights Protection Association of India and a British company called Bigways also targeted in the last few days.
Cybersecurity officials have warned that more such attacks could be forthcoming in the next few weeks as tensions between the US and Iran escalate and that potential targets include manufacturing facilities, oil and gas plants, and transit systems.
There is a precedent for such attacks as well, with Iranian-backed state hackers taking carrying out a series of denial-of-service (DoS) attacks on major US banks, as well as the New York Stock Exchange and NASDAQ in 2012 and 2013 in response to sanctions enacted by the Obama government.
Then, two years later, they attacked and wiped the servers at the Sands Casino in Las Vegas, whose owner Sheldon Adelson is a vocal supporter of Israel. They are also believed to be behind the 2012 attack on Saudi oil company Aramco which wiped the data from more than 30,000 computers via the Stuxnet computer virus.