Iranian Government Accused Of Large Scale Internet Attack
The Comodo Group, a New Jersey company, has accused Iran’s government of sponsoring an attempted cyber-attack on Google, Microsoft, Mozilla, and Skype. Had the attacks not been discovered, these major websites would have been left open to impersonation. The Comodo group sells digital authentication certificates (guarantee whether a website is legitimate or not). The certificates work through a security protocol called SSL (Secure Sockets Layer). The company claimed to have sold nine certificates to the websites, later discovering the inauthenticity, thereby revoking them. Most of the IP addresses originated from Iran. Observing that the attacks were used against communication websites, such as Gmail and Skype, instead of financial websites, Comodo deduced that “the failed attacks were likely the work of Iran’s government.” They also note that the Iranian government had recently attacked other encrypted communication websites, adding credence to their assumption.
If the targeted sites did not have their authenticity certificates revoked, Iran Internet users would have logged into a fake Gmail or Browser site, where information could have been stolen. Comodo believes that this was likely a situation of the Iranian government snooping into their citizens web activity, perhaps to learn information from opposing groups or citizens. Comodo also believes that the attempt could have been from professional hackers outside of Iran, using this attempt as a false trial before attempting something bigger. However, they note that the “circumstantial evidence” shows Iran as the culprit.