US claims cyber strike on Iran after attack on Saudi oil facility

Saudi defence ministry spokesman Colonel Turki bin Saleh al-Malki displays pieces of what he said were Iranian cruise missiles and drones recovered from the attack site that targeted Saudi Aramco's facilities, during a press conference in Riyadh on September 18, 2019.  US officials have now said that the US responded with a cyber attack against Iran's "propaganda" infrastructure.

Enlarge / Saudi defence ministry spokesman Colonel Turki bin Saleh al-Malki displays pieces of what he said were Iranian cruise missiles and drones recovered from the attack site that targeted Saudi Aramco’s facilities, during a press conference in Riyadh on September 18, 2019. US officials have now said that the US responded with a cyber attack against Iran’s “propaganda” infrastructure. (credit: FAYEZ NURELDINE / Getty Images)

Reuters reports that the United States launched a “secret cyber operation” against Iran in September, following the alleged drone and missile attack by Iran on Saudi Arabian oil facilities. Unnamed officials told Reuters that the late-September cyberattack targeted Iran’s “propaganda” infrastructure. The attack, one official said, affected physical hardware. But no further details were provided.

Just how effective this targeted attack was, or if it actually did any damage, is far from clear. When asked about the claimed attack today by Iran’s Fars news agency, Iran Minister of Communications and Information Technology Mohammad Javad Azari-Jahromi replied, “They must have dreamt it.”

US, Saudi, German, French and British officials have all concluded that Iran was responsible for the attack on the Aramco Abqaiq oil refinery, based on forensic evidence collected from the missiles and drones involved in the strike and other data related to the direction from which the attack was launched. Iran continues to deny involvement, and the Ansar Allah—the Houthi militia in Yemen—has claimed responsibility.

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