Iranian hackers dismantled a CIA secret network
A secret communications network of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) was allegedly dismantled in Iran in 2011, according to a report published by Yahoo News. According to the publication, Iranian hackers and counterintelligence agents used the Google search engine to locate the network and the CIA informants.
The fact is that Google – which is constantly seeking information about all the world’s websites – can also be used as a research tool. In particular, more sophisticated operators such as “AND” or “OR” allowed hackers to eliminate or isolate websites and data, explain the authors of the article.
According to an ex-American intelligence agent, who preferred to remain anonymous, a double agent informed the Iranian counterintelligence about a website used by the agents to communicate with the CIA. Then, Iranian hackers allegedly started searching on Google websites and, as a result, located several secret websites of the US agency, and they would have tracked down those who visited these sites, something that would have helped them to dismantle the CIA communications network.
According to the article, the communications platform was used for the first time in conflict zones in the Middle East, and “was never intended for long-term use by agents”. The interlocutor stressed that “it has been working well for a long time, but it was too simple a system”, likewise, “they were all using it inappropriately.”
US intelligence agents recruited Iranian informants through counterfeit websites, in which they offered jobs, visas and education abroad, and met with candidates in Dubai or Istanbul. The dismantling of the espionage network – which had about 30 agents – caused “shock and awe” in the CIA, the source revealed.
Not only Iranian hackers
According to another CIA source to Yahoo News, Chinese counterintelligence agents would also have perpetrated a cyberattack against the communications network of the US agency in 2011 and 2012 through the same method, although it is not known whether the two countries acted in set.
In 2008, a CIA contractor in Iran, John Reidy, warned the agency about a “massive intelligence failure“, however, the CIA paid no attention to the employee’s words. After the attack, he was fired for “conflicts of interest.”
“It’s one of the most catastrophic intelligence failures since 9/11, and the CIA punished the person who brought the problem to light,” Irvin McCullough, an expert with the Government Accountability Project, told the media.
With information from Yahoo News and Sputnik
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