A Federal Depository Library Program (FDPL) website’s front page briefly showed an image of the US leader getting smacked in the face along with a vow to avenge the killing of a top Iranian general before it went offline.
The website run by the FDPL, a US government program set up to ensure US federal government publications are available to public free of charge, was apparently hacked by a group claiming to hail from Iran on Saturday evening.
NEW: The Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) website appears to have been hacked by an Iranian group. At the bottom of the page the “Iran Cyber Security Group HackerS” take credit. “#SpadSecurityGroup” also appears. pic.twitter.com/quK7mRdW6s
— Tracking Global Developments (@GlobalConflict8) January 5, 2020
The site, which currently cannot be accessed, briefly sported a message purportedly left by the perpetrators, calling themselves “Iran Cyber Security Group HackerS.”
The front page showed a close-up shot of US President Donald Trump getting punched in the face with blood coming out of his mouth. The fist was made to look like it belonged to a uniformed member of the Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), with the elite’s force official logo, known as Pasdaran, visible on the sleeve.
— Steve Herman (@W7VOA) January 5, 2020
Accompanying the picture was a message in Persian and in English, promising “severe revenge” on those who are complicit in the assassination of IRGC’s Quds Force leader, Qassem Soleimani, killed in a US drone strike in Baghdad on Thursday.
“Martyrdom was his (Shahid Soleymani) reward for years of implacable efforts. With his departure and with God’s power, his work and path will not cease and severe revenge awaits those criminals who have tainted their filthy hands with his blood and the blood of the other martyrs of last night’s incident.”
While the site has since been taken down, the message purportedly left by “Iranian hackers” can still be found on Google search.
“In the name of god. Hacked By Iran Cyber Security Group HackerS;). This is only small part of Iran’s cyber ability ! We’re always ready,” it reads.
The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) confirmed the breach of the website late Saturday, but fell short of pointing finger immediately at Tehran.
“At this time, there is no confirmation that this was the action of Iranian state-sponsored actors,” Sara Sendek, a spokesperson for DHS’ Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, said, as cited by CNN.
“We are aware the website of the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) was defaced with pro-Iranian, anti-US messaging”
The the Government Publishing Office (GPO), which runs the program, in turn, noted that the website was take down as soon as the “intrusion” was discovered.
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The incident comes just hours after the DHS sounded alarm about a supposed “terrorism threat” to the US from Iran, arguing that the Islamic Republic “can execute cyber-attacks against the United States” that may have a “temporary disruptive effect” on the US critical infrastructure.
In wake of the US killing of Soleymani, who played an important role in the fight against Al-Qaeda and IS (formerly ISIS) in both Iraq and Syria, Iran said that it reserves the right to strike back. A senior commander within the IRGC said Saturday the Iranian military have since long identified 35 US and Israeli targets in the region.
Hours after the warning was issued, Trump ramped up tensions even further, saying that the US would be ready to fire upon 52 Iranian sites, including that of cultural importance to the Iranian people, if Tehran moves to avenge the murder, denounced by Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif as “an act of international terrorism.”
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