Hackers claiming to be from Iran attacked the websites of Sierra Leone Commercial African Bank and the United States Federal Depository Library Program and posted pro-Iranian comments and graphics, says Iran Briefing.
Google search results showed Sierra Leone Commercial Bank’s website as “H4ck3D IRANIAN HACKER”.
Twitter screenshots showed a drawing of former IRGC Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani, who was killed in a US airstrike, with the words “hacked by Iranian hacker, hacked by shield Iran”.
The website of the library program was changed with a bloodied image of US President Donald Trump being punched in the face, as well as a message printed in both Farsi and English reading “martyrdom was Soleimani’s… reward for years of implacable efforts,” with another caption that said, “this is only small part of Iran’s cyber ability!”, according to CBC news.
The intrusion was confirmed by a representative of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, a division of the US Department of Homeland Security.
It has not yet been proven that this hack was carried out by Iranian state-sponsored actors.
The spokesperson stated, “We are aware the website of the Federal Depository Library Program [FDLP] was defaced with pro-Iranian, anti-US messaging”.
“At this time, there is no confirmation that this was the action of Iranian state-sponsored actors”.
The website has been taken down and is no longer available. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) is keeping an eye on the matter in cooperation with FDLP and other government partners. Another senior US official stated that the defacement was a minor incident that was likely carried out by Iranian sympathizers.
Former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said at the time that one conceivable retaliation by Iran against the U.S. could be a cyberattack. It is unclear if the hackers had an official position or ties to Iran.
The hack comes at a time when tensions between the U.S. and Iran are still high following the assassination of the leader of Iran Revolutionary Guards Corps Quds Force Qasem Soleimani by a U.S. attack in Baghdad on Jan. 2. Iran has already vowed revenge for the assassination and hinted at possible attacks on US assets and interests around the Middle East as well as US allies.