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Iran beefs up security, sues US over cyber attacks: Official

A senior official says Iran is taking legal action against the US over repeated cyber attacks and threats, while it is putting in place robust security measures to protect its vital infrastructure.

“The Americans have repeatedly threatened and mounted cyber attacks against us,” said Gholamreza Jalali, the head of Iran’s Civil Defense Organization which is in charge of cyber security. 

“The legal implications of such actions could naturally affect them and Iran is seriously following up the issue at its juridical and foreign ministry capacities,” he told Tasnim news agency Sunday. 

In 2010, Iran discovered Stuxnet, which is widely believed to have been developed by the United States and Israel to attack a uranium enrichment facility at Natanz nuclear site.

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Last month, US media reports said the United States was considering possible cyber attacks against Iran after the Sept. 14 attacks on Saudi oil sites which Washington was quick to blame on Iran without evidence. 

Jalali said, “Our task is to enhance our cyber defense preparations in the energy and other critical areas.”

The official said his office has been upgrading its preparations through special drills held periodically, in which emergency response teams identify and fix weaknesses and security holes in simulated cyber attacks. 

“In the last six months, we have had almost 120 drills and tests, about 70% of which were in the energy field, controlling all refinery, petrochemical, gas, transfer, central and control systems and resolving almost all weaknesses,” Jalali said. 

Last month, the Ministry of Petroleum’s news agency Shana said Iran had launched an inspection of security at its key Persian Gulf oil and gas facilities, including preparedness for cyber attacks, following reports of the US weighing possible cyber attacks. 

“Our enemies consider the cyber domain as one of the main areas of threat against nations, especially Iran,” Jalali said then, calling for security at industrial installations to be beefed up.

NetBlocks, an organization that monitors internet connectivity, reported “intermittent disruptions” to some internet services in Iran at the time, but officials denied there had been a successful attack on petrochemical and other companies. 

Iran’s university scientists have developed and successfully tested a firewall for industrial automation systems to neutralize industrial sabotage such as that caused by Stuxnet in power networks, Communications Minister Mohammad Javad Azari-Jahromi said in May. 

Last year, the minister said a Stuxnet attack launched by Israel had failed to harm Iran’s communications infrastructure.

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