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Saudi authorities detected a new destructive cyberattack suspected of coming from Iran on Dec. 29, the same day the U.S. military struck targets controlled by Iranian-backed proxies in retaliation for a rocket attack that killed an American contractor the previous Friday.

Officials in Riyadh, who nicknamed the malware “Dustman,” did not directly attribute the malicious attack to Iran, according to a Saudi technical report obtained by Yahoo News. However, according to experts who reviewed the technical report and analyzed possible motivation and similarities to past attacks, Tehran is the most likely culprit.

The “wiper” attack, which was identified by the Saudi National Cybersecurity Authority, used malware to erase digital data belonging to unidentified targets in the Middle East.

While the Dustman malware attack came before the Jan. 2 U.S. strike that killed the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Qassem Soleimani, it underscores larger concerns about Iran’s cyber capabilities. After Soleimani’s death, the Department of Homeland Security warned against the danger of increasing Iranian cyberattacks — a cheap, deniable way Tehran could retaliate without provoking an all-out shooting war.

The Dustman malware, and other prior attacks, reveal the extent of the low-level, sometimes destructive cyber warfare that Iran has waged in the Middle East for some time, and provides clues as to the tactics and capabilities Iran might deploy in the future. Read more

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Saudi authorities detected a new destructive cyberattack suspected of coming from Iran on Dec. 29, the same day the U.S. military struck targets controlled by Iranian-backed proxies in retaliation for a rocket attack that killed an American contractor the previous Friday.

Saudi authorities detected a new destructive cyberattack suspected of coming from Iran on Dec. 29, the same day the U.S. military struck targets controlled by Iranian-backed proxies in retaliation for a rocket attack that killed an American contractor the previous Friday.