Late last year, reports indicating that Iranian hackers had breached the control system of a small dam just outside of New York City in 2013 had begun to surface. The incident sparked concerns about cyber security vulnerabilities throughout the federal government, all the way to the White House.
Now the United States government is looking to officially charge the government-backed Iranian hackers.
Via the New York Post:
The Justice Department is drawing up an indictment that lays blame for the 2013 cyber-attack against a dam in Westchester squarely on hackers working for the Iranian government, a law enforcement source confirmed to The Post.
The FBI has been investigating since the discovery of the breach, with the indictment expected to be handed down soon, the source said.
The hackers were unable to seize control of the Bowman Avenue Dam in the suburban town of Rye, but they were able to access an unspecified system, sources said.
At a time when cyber-intrusions of government agencies are becoming more frequent, the breach at the small dam led to great concern within the Obama administration, sources said.
Apparently, that “great concern” wasn’t enough to nix a nuclear deal with Iran.
At least one Senator has suggested the Obama administration hid this cyber attack as a way to help push long the Iran nuclear agreement.
Via The Hill:
Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) on Thursday bashed President Obama for taking years to blame Iran for a 2013 cyberattack against a New York dam.
“It is downright shameful that it has taken President Obama three years to denounce Iran for a malicious cybersecurity attack on our country while at the same time sitting at a negotiating table with them,” Daines said in a statement.
According to reports, the Iranian hackers didn’t overtake the system but “probed” it, likely seeking out weaknesses.
The White House website currently lists the Obama administration’s top five priorities regarding cyber security, number one being:
- Protecting the country’s critical infrastructure — our most important information systems — from cyber threats.
In 2011, the administration announced a Cybersecurity Legislative Proposal, designed to “protect our national security by addressing threats to our power grids, water systems, and other critical infrastructure.”
Despite causing no discernible harm, the cyber attack did reveal information “about how computers running the flood control system worked.”