Suspected Iranian hackers have targeted a number of US banks and financial institutions over the past few weeks in a sustained digital offensive.
According to the Israel-based DebkaFile, Iran's clandestine cyber war-room is currently located in Hizballah's internal security apparatus headquarters in the Shiite Dahya district of south Beirut (Lebanon).
"The hackers and cyber experts who recently attacked American banks and Saudi oil sites and which guided an Iranian stealth drone into Israeli airspace on Oct. 6, operate from Hizballah's premises in Beirut and its secret bunkers," security analysts at Debka explained.
"Wafiq Safa is head of the security apparatus and also deputy of the Iranian general, Hossein Mahadavi, who serves as the liaison and coordination officer with Hizballah in Lebanon."
Indeed, Tehran is apparently using its Lebanese proxy to mask the source of its cyber offensive and take advantage of Hizballah's "exceptionally efficient" firewalls.
"The Americans encountered difficulty in early October when they tried to locate and identify the hackers who disabled 10 major US bank websites," the analysts noted. "[They] also attacked Saudi Arabia's Aramco's websites with a virus called Shamoon that replaced data with burning American flags, and invaded the computers of Qatar's gas industry."
Meanwhile, US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta confirmed that unnamed attackers were targeting American banks and other financial institutions, all while developing the the ability to strike US power grids and government systems.
"We confront a whole new threat of warfare in (cyberspace). ... This is an area we've got to pay close attention to. This is the battlefront of the future. .. As I speak, there are attacks going on in this country, cyber attacks, on financial institutions, on banks. Now they are developing the capability to be able to go after our grid, our power grid, our financial systems, our government systems, and virtually paralyze this country."