John Bacon, USA TODAY
Published 11: 52 a.m. ET Jan. 5, 2020 | Updated 2: 50 p.m. ET Jan. 5, 2020
A federal website was offline Sunday after a hacker uploaded photos to the site that included an Iranian flag and an image depicting a bloodied President Donald Trump being punched in the face.
The images appeared on the Federal Depository Library Program program’s website late Saturday before the site was taken offline. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, a division of the Department of Homeland Security, said it was monitoring the situation.
“We are aware the website of the Federal Depository Library Program was defaced with pro-Iranian, anti-US messaging,” the cybersecurity agency said in a statement. “At this time, there is no confirmation that this was the action of Iranian state-sponsored actors. The website was taken offline and is no longer accessible.”
The statement added that “in these times of increased threats” all organizations should increase cyber monitoring, back up IT systems, implement secure authentication and have an incident response plan ready should a hack take place.
DHS also issued a two-week National Terrorism System advisory noting the U.S. drone strike in Iraq last week that killed Iran commander Qasem Soleimani. That led Iran and several affiliated extremist organizations to publicly state they intend to retaliate against the United States.
“Iran maintains a robust cyberprogram and can execute cyberattacks against the United States,” DHS warned. “Iran is capable, at a minimum, of carrying out attacks with temporary disruptive effects against critical infrastructure in the United States.”
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The library program website had been essentially replaced with a page exclaiming “Iranian Hackers!” An image of Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei also was posted, along with a message that “martyrdom was (Soleimani’s) reward for years of implacable efforts.”
A graphic showed Trump being punched by a fist from Iran amid a flurry of missiles.
“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 blood of the other martyrs,” a message on the website read.
Another message claimed the hack was the work of an Iranian “security group,” adding that “this is only small part of Iran’s cyber ability!”
Iran has promised a military response to Soleimani’s killing. Trump has vowed that if Iran attacks an American base or any American “which I would strongly advise them not to do, we will hit them harder than they have ever been hit before!”
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