|U.S. claims Iran hacked navy computers||
TEHRAN – U.S. officials have claimed Iran hacked unclassified navy computers in recent weeks, the Wall Street Journal reported on Saturday.
The U.S. officials said the attacks were carried out by hackers working for Iran’s government or by a group acting with the approval of Iranian leaders.
According to the report, the most recent incident came in the week starting Sept. 15, before a security upgrade, the officials said.
In the navy’s case, the Iranian intruders penetrated an unclassified computer network that is used for email and the service’s internal intranet, the officials said.
The U.S. officials said they didn’t believe Iranian agents stole information of significant value, but the incident sparked concerns within the Pentagon because it showed a more potent Iranian hacking capability than previously believed and suggested the Iranians have the ability to access military data.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey were briefed on the intrusions and on the department’s attempts to upgrade its network, U.S. officials said. Congress has also been briefed on the intrusions, other U.S. officials said.
The Pentagon wouldn’t confirm the alleged Iranian hacks. A department spokesman said its networks are attacked daily.
“We take these attempts seriously and work to learn lessons from every one of them,” the spokesman said.
Iran counters by complaining about the computer virus known as Stuxnet—developed by the U.S. and Israel, according to former American officials—which sabotaged elements of Iran’s nuclear program and was uncovered in 2010.
The latest reports of infiltration took U.S. defense officials by surprise and showed the Iranians had gained greater capability than many in the U.S. government believed, officials said.
“Iran is very active,” said James Lewis, a former State Department official and cybersecurity specialist at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “They’re better than we thought.”
As recently as last year, U.S. intelligence officials said that they considered Iran’s capabilities unimpressive. That view has changed over the past year.
The most recent intrusion prompted the navy to take down the unclassified system for significant security upgrades.
The system penetrated, the Navy Marine Corps Internet, makes up the majority of the navy’s unclassified computer system and contains the email accounts for officials as senior as the secretary of the navy, the chief of naval operations and commandant of the Marine Corps.
Officials said the email accounts of the top officials weren’t compromised.
Other officials said the hackers gained access to a portion of the system that would have allowed them to change the configuration of the network.
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