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Texas Department of Agriculture website features pro-Iran image after cyberattack

Texas Department of Agriculture website features pro-Iran image after cyberattack

The Texas Department of Agriculture on Monday was hit with a cyberattack that made its website feature an image of Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the top Iranian commander who was killed in a U.S. strike last week.

The website’s homepage was replaced and instead featured a picture of Soleimani with white imagery over a black background and text that read, “hacked by Iranian Hacker,” according to KXAN. State and federal officials are investigating the incident, which came after Tehran vowed to retaliate for Soleimani’s death.

“The Texas Department of Agriculture was the victim of a website defacement as were other organizations in other states,” an official for the department confirmed in a statement to The Hill on Wednesday.

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“The attack was not a hack and TDA staff have addressed the issue. No data was exposed or lost. It was fixed quickly and is under investigation by state and federal agencies.”

The attack on the website came the same day The New York Times reported the website of the Federal Depository Library Program was struck with a similar intrusion.

Iran has threatened to retaliate for the death of Soleimani, who was Tehran’s top general and directed the country’s international network of proxy forces. Observers had speculated that Iran would tap into its sophisticated cyber capabilities to launch digital attacks on the U.S. as part of its response.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) said the state had seen a spike in attacks from Iran since the killing and urged both the public and private sectors to remain vigilant. 

“Attempted cyber attacks from Iran against Texas agency websites are occurring about 10,000 per minute. All government agencies at all levels—as well as the private sector—must remain vigilant in securing their networks from potential attacks,” Abbott tweeted.