FBI, DHS issue bulletin warning of potential Iranian cyberattacks

The FBI and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a bulletin to law enforcement groups on Wednesday warning of the potential for Iran to target the U.S. with cyber and physical attacks in the wake of raised tensions following the death of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani. 

According to CNN, the FBI and DHS wrote in the bulletin that in the case of an attack by Iran they believed a physical attack on the U.S. would first occur overseas, and a cyberattack on the U.S. would also happen in the immediate aftermath of the targeting and killing of Soleimani. 

The bulletin was issued the day after Iran launched missiles at two bases in Iraq housing U.S. personnel, and amid heightened tensions between the U.S. and Iran. 

A spokesperson for the FBI told The Hill that “while our standard practice is to not comment on intelligence products, the FBI is aware of the continued possibility that retaliatory actions could be taken against the United States and its interests abroad.” 

The spokesperson noted that “while there is no specific or credible threat to the Homeland at this time, we urge the public to be vigilant and report any suspicious activity to law enforcement. As always, we will work with our intelligence and law enforcement partners to gather, share, and act upon threat information.”

DHS did not respond to The Hill’s request for comment on the bulletin. DHS issued a separate advisory earlier this week, also noting that while there is currently no credible threat from Iran against the homeland, Iran was capable of carrying out debilitating cyberattacks against U.S. critical infrastructure.

“Iran maintains a robust cyber program and can execute cyber attacks against the United States,” DHS wrote. “Iran is capable, at a minimum, of carrying out attacks with temporary disruptive effects against critical infrastructure in the United States.”

Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf noted the continued focus on ramping up cybersecurity protections against potential Iranian threats on Wednesday, tweeting that he had visited DHS’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) to check on work being done. 

“They’ve been training for years & stand vigilant to respond to any threat against the homeland should one arise,” Wolf wrote of CISA employees. 

The House Homeland Security Committee emphasized potential cyber threats on Wednesday, with the committee tweeting that President Trump’s “reckless actions in the middle east have put the safety of our homeland at risk. Foreign cyberattacks could pose a serious threat to our nation.”

The bulletin from the FBI and DHS was also issued the same day top federal leaders briefed both the House and Senate on Iranian threats. 

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