As Iran strikes with retaliatory missiles, McMaster and soldiers’ families react to growing tensions

As Iran strikes with retaliatory missiles, McMaster and soldiers’ families react to growing tensions

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - The Department of Homeland Security said one of the biggest threats from Iran isn’t just missiles but also cyberattacks.

On Wednesday, Governor Henry McMaster said he is making sure South Carolina is ready for the potential surge of cyber attacks.

McMaster said that this isn’t a new problem, but rather that South Carolina has been facing cyber attacks since 2013, but the number of cyberattacks in recent days has been astronomical. On Tuesday night in a tweet, McMaster said that he has directed state government IT leaders to redouble efforts to aggressively search out, identify, and repel any potential cyberattacks or malicious technology intrusions into our state agencies.

“We’ve heard astronomical reports,” McMaster said. “It’s almost like how far away some of these planets are, the billions of light-years. It’s just numbers that defy our comprehension. It’s a lot of them and you understand they have computers that are trying to make these break-ins around the clock. You’ve seen movies about this sort of stuff. That’s actually what’s going on.”

It was a response to Texas Governor Greg Abbott saying there have been up to 10,000 attempted attacks per minute by Iran over a span of 48 hours.

State election officials said they were contacted Friday by the Department of Homeland Security about potential cyberattacks from Iran due to the increased tensions. Today McMaster said the state is always on constant alert to these types of attacks.

“Well, here they go again. As soon as tensions increase somewhere in the world, it seems like this happens. Right now, it’s Iran,” Governor McMaster said. “So far, we are doing very well, but we want to stay on alert always because this is sensitive information and to be forewarned is to be forearmed.”

McMaster said that he was proud of the efforts to prevent these cyberattacks and also proud of our military here in South Carolina.

One mother whose daughter is on a South Carolina reserve unit right now but was deployed in the Middle East a year ago said it’s been difficult the last week with the escalating tensions.

She said last night was an especially difficult night for her and her daughter, who is close with those who were at the bases that Iran launched missiles on, not knowing if everyone was okay.

“It’s the thought that you have a loved one over there. You have someone that you probably can’t get in contact with,” said the mother, who did not want to be identified for safety and security purposes for her daughter who is still in a reserve unit that could be deployed in the future. “There is very limited information for security purposes and, as a parent, as a mom, the first thing you want to do is pick up the phone or reach out and touch your child, your loved one, your spouse, and that’s not readily available. You have to wait for what’s given to you, what comes on the news.”

The 207th Regional Support Group, an Army Reserve Unit based at Fort Jackson, is stationed at Al-Asad Air Base in Iraq at one of the bases that were hit. The unit posted on social media just after 9 p.m. last night saying all members of the unit are okay.

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