Report: US Cyberattack Crippled Iran’s Ability to Target Oil Tankers

The June 20 cyberattack, carried out in response to Iran’s downing of a US drone, took out an Iranian database used by the IRGC to plan attacks against oil tankers in the Gulf, the New York Times reported

A speedboat of the Iran's Revolutionary Guard moves around a British-flagged oil tanker Stena Impero, which was seized in the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas (Hasan Shirvani/Mizan News Agency via AP)

The US Cyber Command attacked and disabled a crucial Iranian database used to target oil tankers and disrupt shipping traffic in the Persian Gulf, the New York Times reported, citing several senior US officials.

The database targeted in the cyberattacks reportedly helped Tehran locate and covertly target vessels in the Gulf. Iran is still trying to recover critical information that was destroyed in the attack and restart some of the computer systems that were taken offline, including military communications networks, the report added.

The attack was carried out on June 20, after Iran shot down a US surveillance drone. The retaliatory strike by US Cyber Command against the system used by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps was approved by President Trump, who that same day called off a military airstrike against Iran because killing Iranians would not be “proportionate to shooting down an unmanned drone.”

The report notes the attack did not elicit a response from Iran, whose cyber-activity against the US remained at its usual intensity. The US is also careful to keep cyber activity below the threshold of war, officials told the Times, describing the attack as part of an ongoing battle.

 

[Sources: The New York Times, The Washington Post, Haaretz]