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Cyberattack on Iran's parliament claimed by dissident group

A group affiliated with a notorious Iranian dissident organization claimed credit for the attack as hacking incidents increase during the Gaza war.
ATTA KENARE/AFP via Getty Images

Hackers affiliated with an Iranian dissident group claimed credit for a cyberattack on Iran's parliament on Tuesday.

The official Islamic Republic News Agency reported that the parliament and its news site Khane Mellat were hacked. Authorities are investigating the incident, according to the agency.

Al-Monitor was unable to access the site as of 10:30 a.m. EST on Tuesday.

A hacking group called Uprising Till Overthrow claimed credit for the cyberattack. The group is affiliated with the Iranian dissident organization Mujahedin-e Khalq, Agence France-Presse reported.

The MEK opposes the Islamic Republic and controversially fought alongside Saddam Hussein’s Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war. The group is often described as a cult in the international media.

The United States previously designated the MEK as a terrorist organization, but removed the label in 2012. Some Iran hawks including former Bush and Trump administration official John Bolton have praised the group.

Why it matters: Iran has been targeted by cyberattacks more frequently in the last 12 months. In December, Iranian Deputy Oil Minister Jalil Salari said a cyberattack by Israel and the United States disrupted 60% of gas stations in the country. Later the same month, state media reported that unidentified hackers had stolen customer data from Snappfood, an online food delivery service in Iran.

The Iranian government was also accused of conducting cyberattacks against Israel. Iranian cyberattacks have both increased and become more sophisticated since the Gaza war began, Tal Pavel reported for Al-Monitor last month.

A commander in Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps addressed the issue of cyberattacks on Tuesday.

“The IRGC has gained such great power that it emerges victorious in every battlefield, either the military war theater or the cyberwar against the enemy,” said Maj. Gen. Hossein Salami, according to the IRGC-affiliated Tasnim News Agency.

Know more: US officials have expressed concern about Iranian cyberattacks recently. In December, the US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency said an IRGC-affiliated group known as “CyberAv3ngers” has been targeting US infrastructure that uses technology from the Israeli company Unitronics.