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‘This is message from Islamic Republic of Iran:’ U.S. agency site apparently hacked

Screenshot of www.fdlp.gov via the Wayback Machine on Jan. 4, 2020.
Screenshot of www.fdlp.gov via the Wayback Machine on Jan. 4, 2020.

The homepage for the U.S. Federal Depository Library Program appeared to intermittently go offline and display a message purporting to be from hackers in Iran Saturday evening.

Screenshots on the Wayback Machine — timestamped between 1:07 and 1:35 GMT Sunday, which is 8:07 to 8:35 p.m. ET Saturday — show the website’s homepage www.fdlp.gov appearing with the Iranian flag on a black background.

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“This is message from Islamic Republic of Iran,” says one line in English.

“We will not stop supporting our friends in the region,” continues a paragraph in English, referring to the “oppressed people of Palestine” and of Yemen. 

A photo of a fist punching U.S. President Donald Trump is also visible in the screenshot. 

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Screenshot of www.fdlp.gov via the Wayback Machine on Jan. 4, 2020.
Screenshot of http://www.fdlp.gov via the Wayback Machine on Jan. 4, 2020.

“Martyrdom was his (Shahid Soleymani) reward for years of implacable effort,” reads text below Trump’s face, referring to Qassem Soleimani, the top Iranian general killed in a U.S. airstrike earlier this week.

“Hacked by Iran Cyber Security Group HackerS,” reads another line in the screenshot of the homepage, which currently appears offline. 

Tensions escalating dramatically between the U.S. and Iran
Tensions escalating dramatically between the U.S. and Iran

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When Global News visited the homepage for the FDLP on Saturday just past 8:30 p.m. ET, it showed an error and appeared offline. Subsequent visits to the FDLP site either resulted in the same error message or the content of the screenshot appearing. 

The FDLP is a program that collects, organizes, and preserves information produced by the U.S. federal government, according to the U.S. Department of the Interior.

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It is unknown whether the hack originated from Iran as the screenshot states, or whether it originates from an entity claiming to represent the country.

Screenshot of www.fdlp.gov at 8:33 p.m. ET Jan. 4, 2020.
Screenshot of http://www.fdlp.gov at 8:33 p.m. ET Jan. 4, 2020.

Soleimani was killed by an airstrike ordered by Trump near Baghdad’s airport on Friday, sparking worries that tension between the U.S. and Iran will only escalate further. 

Earlier on Saturday, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security had sent out a national advisory warning of Iran’s cyberattacks capabilities.

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

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U.S. officials are aware of the messaging appearing on the FDLP site.

“We are aware the website of the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) was defaced with pro-Iranian, anti-US messaging,” said an email late Saturday night from a U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) spokesperson.

“At this time, there is no confirmation that this was the action of Iranian state-sponsored actors,” the statement said.

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The FDLP website has been taken offline and “is no longer accessible” while CISA monitors the situation with its partners in the U.S. federal government.

The CISA statement referred to the DHS bulletin from earlier Saturday, saying “all organizations should increase monitoring, back up your systems, implement multi factor authentication, and have an incident response plan at the ready.”