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U.S. Could Launch Cyberattack on Iran in Response to Saudi Oil Attack

US could launch more cyberattacks on Iran

The United States could launch a cyberattack on Iran in response to last week’s drone attack on two major oil facilities in Saudi Arabia.

According to NBC News, the Trump administration is considering a cyberattack or a physical strike on Iranian oil facilities or assets of the Revolutionary Guard Corps, a branch of the country’s Armed Forces.

Following news of the attack, President Donald Trump tweeted that the U.S. is “locked and loaded,” but NBC says a covert cyberattack or increased sanctions are more likely as Trump and the Department of Defense are deeply reluctant when it comes to a military response.

US could launch another cyberattack on Iran

Others believe that President Trump might not be satisfied with a cyberattack.

“Even if a potential measured response was identified – perhaps a cyber-attack on Iranian facilities, for which no one claims responsibility – it would be harder to effect when Mr Trump sees discretion as an absurdity and demands personal glory at every turn,” British newspaper The Guardian said in an editorial.

On the other hand, it would not be the first time the U.S. has launched a cyberattack on Iran. In June, reports emerged that the United States conducted a hacker attack on Iran’s missile control systems and a spy network in response to the shootdown of an American surveillance drone.

The cyberattack, whose targets reportedly included a database used by the Revolutionary Guard to plot attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf, is said to have caused significant damage, but Iran denied the claims.

The U.S. is also said to be responsible for the 2010 Stuxnet attack on Iranian nuclear facilities. It was revealed recently that an Iranian mole recruited by Dutch intelligence helped the United States and Israel plant the Stuxnet malware.

The U.S. has also reportedly launched cyberattacks against North Korea and Russia, and the government of Venezuela blamed the power outages that occurred earlier this year on a cyber sabotage operation conducted by the United States, although many experts are sceptical about those claims.

Iran has denied involvement in last week’s attacks, but senior US officials told the media that Tehran launched both drones and cruise missiles against the Saudi oil facilities. The attack disrupted global oil supplies and led to a spike in oil prices.

Related: US Cyber Attack on Iran Shrouded in Digital 'Fog of War'

Related: Iran-Linked Hackers Again Target Universities

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Eduard Kovacs (@EduardKovacs) is a contributing editor at SecurityWeek. He worked as a high school IT teacher for two years before starting a career in journalism as Softpedia’s security news reporter. Eduard holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial informatics and a master’s degree in computer techniques applied in electrical engineering.