Iran is still feeling the pain after U.S. cyber military forces brought down a database used by its Revolutionary Guard Corps to target ships in the Persian Gulf, hours after the Islamic Republic shot down an American drone, officials say.
The retaliatory cyberattack on June 20 focused on a system that Iran uses to determine which oil tankers and marine traffic it should go after, a senior U.S. official told the New York Times. As of Thursday, Iran has yet to recover all of the data lost in the attack and is trying to restore military communication networks linked to the database, the newspaper added.
President Trump reportedly signed off on the U.S. Cyber Command’s strike though the government has not publicly acknowledged it happened, according to the Washington Post.
“As a matter of policy and for operational security, we do not discuss cyberspace operations, intelligence, or planning,” Elissa Smith, a Pentagon spokeswoman, told the paper in a statement.
A speedboat belonging to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps trains a weapon toward the British-flagged oil tanker Stena Impero, which was seized in the Strait of Hormuz on July 19. (AP/Tasnim News Agency)
A U.S. official who spoke to the Washington Post also noted that the cyberattack was designed to be damaging for Iran – but not to the extent that would further escalate tensions between the two sides.
Despite the attack, Iran has remained active in the Strait of Hormuz, seizing the British oil tanker Stena Impero in mid-July. The previous week, Iran attempted to seize another British oil tanker, but backed off after a British warship approached.
The June 20 strike against the marine traffic system was reported to have been carried out hours after Iran shot down a U.S. Navy RQ-4A Global Hawk drone with an Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps surface-to-air missile that was fired from near Goruk, Iran.
Sources told Fox News that the U.S. Cyber Command, in the days after the drone incident, launched an attack targeting the Iranian intelligence and radar installations used to down the drone – but it is not clear if that system is the same as the one used to target ships.
Fox News also learned in June that Iran shut off some of its military radar sites around the time the U.S. was poised to launch retaliatory strikes. It's not clear if those radar sites were turned off by cyberattacks or if Iran shut them off deliberately in anticipation of them.
The strikes are not the first major operations executed by the U.S. Cyber Command. The agency last year disrupted a Russian entity’s efforts to use Internet trolls to foster discontent among American voters during the 2018 midterm elections, the Washington Post reported.
Fox News’ Lucas Tomlinson contributed to this report.