- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 22, 2011

An Iranian government official on Tuesday claimed the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps was behind a recent computer attack that disrupted Voice of America Internet programming.

Iran’s state-controlled Press TV quoted an IRGC official, Ali Saeedi Shahroodi, as saying the cyber-attack was the work of the Corps, the Iranian Islamic regime’s shock troops.

“The hacking of a VOA home page by the Iranian Cyber Army and leaving a message on the site for the U.S. secretary of state shows the power and capability of the [Islamic Revolution Guards] Corps in the cyber arena,” Mr. Saeedi Shahroodi, an IRGC spokesman for Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, told the official IRNA news agency.

The Broadcasting Board of Governors, VOA’s parent agency, said in a statement that it was the target of a domain-name system “attack” that affected a computer server outside of the agency.

“This was not a breach of internal systems or servers,” the statement said. “No data was lost or compromised as a result of this event. An investigation is under way to determine who is responsible.”

Visitors to the VOA home page and up to 95 other VOA-related websites were redirected to a page with an Iranian flag and a graphic of an AK-47 rifle. The cyber-attack began Monday and lasted until early Tuesday morning, when service was restored.

The hacking group identified itself as the Iranian Cyber Army and it left a message on the VOA sites that stated “we have proven that we can.” It also called on the United States to stop interfering in Islamic countries.

The Iranian IRGC spokesman said the hacking showed Iran’s sophistication in developing cyberweapons.

“The U.S. enjoys high capabilities in missile technology, including cruise missiles, nuclear arms and other weapons, but this is not the case when it comes to software and cybertechnology,” Mr. Saeedi Shahroodi added.

• Bill Gertz can be reached at bgertz@washingtontimes.com.

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