The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is warning critical infrastructure operators to be on high alert for Iranian backed cyber-attacks because of the vulnerability of state and municipal computer systems, they are at high risk for attack from Iranian-based hackers.

We have seen states and municipalities get hammered with ransomware in the past year. Now with the increase in the tensions between the United States and Iran, the direct threat from Iranian-backed hackers is real and imminent.

To illustrate the risk, according to Texas officials, in the past several days, the state has experienced more than 10,000 probes a minute originating from Iran, attempting to intrude its state systems.

Following the DHS warning, the State increased its monitoring for cyber-attacks from Iran and has confirmed that there has been an increase in activity from Iran. The state does not believe that any of them were successful, but noted the increase.

States’ and municipalities’ systems are known to be vulnerable and an easy target for hackers. Following Texas’ lead, in this time of increased tension with Iran, which is well-known for its cyber-attack capabilities, states and municipalities may consider monitoring their systems specifically for attacks from Iran, and harden their security measures to reduce the risk. In addition, warning employees about the risk of an increase in phishing campaigns and attacks through social media is being recommended by security experts.