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Iran's cyber prowess: Could it really have cracked drone codes?

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American officials dismissed Iran's assertions as overblown.

"It's obviously a classified program and I don't want to get into the particulars of that program," US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told reporters on Monday. "But I think I can tell you based on my experience that I would seriously question their ability to do what they say they have done."

Sen. Joe Lieberman (I) of Connecticut told Fox News on April 22 that "there is a history here of Iranian bluster, particularly now when they are on the defensive because of our economic sanctions" over Iran's controversial nuclear program.

But analysts say the precise details given by Iran about the history of this drone indicate that the drone's on-board data banks are intact and could well have been hacked.

"One problem is that [the Iranians] tend to overstate, so that works against them, [while] the US Department of Defense and politicians have a tendency to diminish the capabilities of other countries," says Jeffrey Carr, a cybersecurity expert who runs his own security company, Taia Global.

"It's much safer to assume that Iran is at least as capable as some of its hackers, and some of its hackers have proven to be very capable," says Mr. Carr, author of the book "Inside Cyber Warfare."

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