Web Informant: A field guide to Iran’s hacking groups. “Iran has been in the news alot lately. And there have been some excellent analyses of the various hacking groups that are sponsored by the Iranian state government. Most of us know that Iran has hacked numerous businesses over the years, including numerous banks, the Bowman Dam in New York in 2013, the Las Vegas Sands hotel in 2014, various universities and government agencies and even UNICEF. When you review all the data, you begin to see the extent of its activities.”
Wired: Iran Tensions Increase Social Media Surveillance at the US Border. “Just days after the United States assassinated Iranian general Qasem Soleimani, US Customs and Border Protection reportedly detained more than 60 Iranian Americans and Iranians, including children, at the US–Canada border. Multiple sources present claim that while some of those detained were held, in certain cases for up to 10 hours, CBP confiscated some of their phones, ordered them to hand over their social media passwords, and questioned them about their political views and social media activity.”
CNN: Hacking attempts originating in Iran nearly triple following Soleimani strike, researchers say. “Hackers looking to breach US computer networks sharply intensified their efforts following the death of Iranian military leader Qasem Soleimani, but have had limited success, according to internet security researchers and state government officials. Soon after the strike that killed Soleimani, Iran-based attempts to hack federal, state and local government websites jumped 50% — and then continued to accelerate, said network security company Cloudflare.”
Poynter: How to use your phone to spot fake images surrounding the U.S.-Iran conflict. “Military conflicts — like the one that is sparking between the United States and Iran — are usually surrounded by false images and outdated videos that go viral on social media. It happened in Turkey the other day. To avoid that misinformation scenario, the International Fact-Checking Network developed a step-by-step guide to teach citizens how to verify images, from asking simple and rhetorical questions to using reverse image search on cell phones.”
Ars Technica: Unpatched US government website gets pwned by pro-Iran script kiddie. “The FDLP website is no stranger to defacement attacks. As a brief analysis of the attack by a security researcher with the Twitter username @sshell_ noted, the site has been defaced twice in the last 10 years—most recently in 2014, when it was replaced with an electronic dance music video featuring a dancing cat. Based on a fingerprint of the site’s files, the site—based on the Joomla content management system—had not had its code updated since 2012.” 2012???!!!
CNN: Senior US officials say there is widespread opposition within the Trump administration to targeting cultural sites in Iran. “Two senior US officials on Sunday described widespread opposition within the administration to targeting cultural sites in Iran should the United States launch retaliatory strikes against Tehran, despite President Donald Trump saying a day before that such sites are among dozens the US has identified as potential targets.”
CNN: Iran has online disinformation operations, too. “Some US officials are now bracing for Iran to retaliate against the US with a cyber attack in response to the killing of one of its top commanders. But Iran has shown it’s also capable of engaging in another form of online warfare: social media disinformation campaigns.”