US Government Agency Website ‘Defaced’ by Group Claiming to Be Iranian Hackers

January 5, 2020 Updated: January 5, 2020
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A group claiming to be hackers from Iran breached a U.S. government website on Jan. 4, just a day after the Department of Homeland Security warned of potential cyberattacks on the United States in the aftermath of a U.S. airstrike that killed Iran’s most powerful military leader.

Timeshots of the website on the Wayback Machine digital archive show the homepage for the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP.gov) replaced with a page titled “Iranian Hackers!”, which displayed images of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and the Iranian flag.

“This is a message from Islamic Republic of Iran,” the page read, alongside further messages written in Arabic and Farsi.

“We will not stop supporting our friends in the region: the oppressed people of Palestine, the oppressed people of Yemen, the people and the Syrian government, the people and government of Iraq, the oppressed people of Bahrain, the true mujahideen resistance in Lebanon and Palestine [they] always will be supported by us,” the message read in English.

The Federal Depository Library Program website is run by the Government Publishing Office and makes federal government documents and information available to the public, including bills and statutes, court opinions, and other material produced by the government.

A separate image displayed on the site showed a doctored image of a bloodied President Donald Trump being punched in the face by what appears to be the fist of an Islamic Revolutionary Guard.

Text under the image read: “Martyrdom was his (Shahid Soleymani) reward for years of implacable effort. 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 of last night’s incident.”

The website went down shortly after the alleged hacking but still appears on Google with a tagline stating: “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.”

The identity of the so-called hackers hasn’t yet been confirmed.

The Department of Homeland Security said in an emailed statement to The Epoch Times that it is monitoring the apparent hack, which they referred to as a “defacement.”

“We are aware the website of the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) was defaced with pro-Iranian, anti-U.S. messaging,” said Sara Sendek, a spokesperson for DHS’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.

“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. CISA is monitoring the situation with FDLP and our federal partners.”

Meanwhile, Gary Somerset, the chief public relations officer for the U.S. Government Publishing Office, told CNN that his office is “coordinating with the appropriate authorities” to investigate the matter.

“An intrusion was detected on GPO’s FDLP website, which has been taken down. GPO’s other sites are fully operational,” he said.

The incident comes shortly after the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) acting Secretary Chad F. Wolf issued a new National Terrorism Advisory System (NTAS) bulletin on Jan. 4 following the killing of Soleimani.

Wolf said that the DHS doesn’t have information about any “specific, credible threat” to the United States at this time but warned that “Iran and its partners, such as Hizbollah [also spelled Hezbollah], have demonstrated the intent and capability to conduct operations in the United States.”

The acting secretary also warned of Iran’s cyberwarfare capabilities, adding that the country “can execute cyber attacks against the United States.”

Soleimani was killed alongside 25 others during a lethal U.S airstrike on Iranian-backed Iraqi militia group Kata’ib Hezbollah, which was ordered by Trump on Jan. 3, 2020.

The United States called the strikes “defensive” and said they were in response to the firing of 30 rockets by pro-Iranian Iraqi militia that killed a U.S. defense contractor.