The first nationstate warfare took place between soldiers on the ground, and then ships at sea. In the 20th Century, the battles moved into the skies. On Thursday, the Justice Department claimed Iran had attacked U.S. infrastructure online, by infiltrating the computerized controls of a small dam 25 miles north of New York City, heralding a new way of war on American soil.
“We can tell the world that hackers affiliated with the Iranian government attacked U.S. systems, and we seek to bring them to justice for their crimes,” Assistant Attorney General John P. Carlin said, unveiling charges against seven Iranians for cyber attacks. The hackers, members of the Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, also targeted several financial institutions, the New York Stock Exchange and AT&T with barrages of incoming emails designed to slow or shut down some of their computers, according to the indictment.
Hackers broken into the command and control system of the dam in 2013, apparently through a cellular modem. While 34-year-old Hamid Firoozi should have been able to release water from behind the dam given his remote access, he “did not have that capability because the sluice gate had been manually disconnected for maintenance at the time of the intrusion,” the U.S. government said.
While insignificant in the overall scheme—the 20-foot, flood-control dam is on Blind Brook in Rye Brook, N.Y.—it signals the desire of some foreign nations to infect, and potentially operate, U.S. infrastructure. “They were sending a shot across our bow,” Senator Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said of the Iranian probing of the dam earlier this month. “They were saying that we can damage, seriously damage, our critical infrastructure and put the lives and property of people at risk.”
-more at Time