Iran reported a spree of new cyberattacks Tuesday, saying foreign enemy hackers tried in recent months to disrupt computer systems at a power plant and other industries in a strategically important southern coastal province as well as a Culture Ministry information center.
Media accounts of the attacks did not specify who was responsible, when they were carried out or how they were thwarted. But they strongly suggested the attacks had originated in the United States and Israel, which have been engaged in a shadowy computer struggle with Iran as part of a broader dispute over whether Iran's nuclear energy program is for peaceful or military use.
Iran has been on heightened alert against such sabotage since a computer worm known as Stuxnet was used to attack its uranium enrichment centrifuges more than two years ago. Stuxnet and other forms of computer malware have also been used in attacks on Iran's oil industry and Science Ministry under a covert U.S. effort.
The reports raised the possibility that the new attacks were in retaliation for assaults that crippled computers in the Saudi Arabian oil industry and some U.S. financial institutions a few months ago.
The Iranian Students' News Agency said Iran's Passive Defense Organization had battled a computer virus infection of an electric utility and other unspecified manufacturing industries in southern Hormozgan province.