US Plans to Blame Iranian Hackers for NY Dam Cyber Attack

 According to a report, the US Justice Department is working on an indictment for hackers based in Iran who attempted to gain access to operational controls for the Bowman Avenue Dam in New York in 2013.

The New York-based Bowman Avenue Dam, an installation located 20 miles from New York City and primarily used for food control was the target of a cyberattack in 2013. The incident saw agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation visit the city of Rye, New York to conduct an investigation which included questioning the city’s information technology officer about the hacking incident.

At the time of the original report which was covered by LIFARS here, it was thought that the hackers did not seize control of the dam. Instead, it was reported that they probed the dam’s infrastructure system. The method of entry was a cellular modem through which the hackers gained access, according to an unclassified Department of Homeland Security summary of the incident. Notably, the hackers did not gain any access to critical controls of the dam’s installation.

Related read: Iran-Based Hackers Targeted Dam in New York

However, a new report by CNN claims that the hackers did accomplish their intrusion into the dam’s system, by simply using off-the-shelf tools. This implies that the hack itself came through simplistic means, barely needing sophistication.

At a recent news briefing, State Department spokesman Mark Toner was asked about the upcoming indictment against the Iranian hackers. He said:

We obviously take seriously all such malicious activity in cyberspace. We are going to continue to use all the tools at our disposal to prevent, deter, detect, counter and mitigate that kind of activity.

Related read: Iranian Hackers Claim Responsbility for the Breach of a New York Dam

Notably, cyberattacks originating from Iran are on the rise and the US government is reportedly allocating more resources to address the concern.

Following the attack’s reveal, the Wall Street Journal reported on the possibility of Iranian hackers targeting the dam, when the source behind the attacks were still unknown. As LIFARS reported earlier, a group called SOBH Cyber Jihad quickly claimed responsibility for the attacks, which they did so by communicating the message through another hacker outfit based in Iran.

While taking the credit for the attack, they also revealed that they hadn’t done so previously in the immediate aftermath of the breach due to a “state-level” reminder that warned them against going public with the information.

Image credit: Wikimedia.