Defense Secretary Leon Panetta
WASHINGTON (AP) -- A former U.S. government official says American authorities believe that Iranian hackers, likely supported by the Tehran government, were responsible for recent cyberattacks against oil and gas companies in the Persian Gulf, and that they appear to be in retaliation for the latest round of U.S. sanctions against the country.
Meanwhile, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, told business leaders in New York City Thursday night that the assaults were probably the most destructive cyberattacks the private sector has seen. He is the first U.S. official to openly discuss the attacks.
Panetta did not directly link Iran to the Gulf attacks, but says the U.S. has advanced techniques to identify cyberattackers and is prepared to take action against them.
The former official spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation is classified.