Iran 'mobilizing' for cyberwar with West: experts

Apr 26, 2012
A general view of Sadeqyeh Square in Tehran in February 2012. Iran is busy acquiring the technical know-how to launch a potentially crippling cyber-attack on the United States and its allies, experts told a congressional hearing on Thursday, urging the US to step up its defensive measures.

Iran is busy acquiring the technical know-how to launch a potentially crippling cyber-attack on the United States and its allies, experts told a congressional hearing on Thursday, urging the US to step up its defensive measures.

"Over the past three years, the Iranian regime has invested heavily in both defensive and offensive capabilities in cyberspace," said Ilan Berman, vice president of the American Foreign Policy Council.

"Equally significant, its leaders now increasingly appear to view cyber-warfare as a potential avenue of action against the ," he told a House Homeland Security subcommittee.

Patrick Meehan, Republican chairman of the committee, also sounded an alarm over the cyber-security threat posed by Iran to western nations.

"As Iran's illicit continues to inflame tensions between Tehran and the West, I am struck by the emergence of another possible avenue of attack emanating from Iran -- the possibility that Iran could conduct a against the US homeland," he said.

The Republican lawmaker said Tehran has reportedly invested over $1 billion in bolstering cyber capabilities, and is believed by some analysts to be the perpetrator of recent attacks on news organizations.

"Iran is very publicly testing its cyber capabilities in the region and, in time, will expand its reach," Meehan warned.

He added that he has concluded after consultations with US partners in the Middle East that "Iran is the most destructive and malicious actor in the region and will persist in antagonizing the United States and our allies -- especially the state of Israel."

Meehan recalled Senate testimony earlier this year from Director of National Intelligence James Clapper who testified that Iran's intelligence operations against the United States, including cyber capabilities, "have dramatically increased in recent years in depth and complexity."

Experts on the panel said Iran's desire to target the United States could be fueled by a desire for payback after the 2010 Stuxnet worm attack which disabled the Iranian centrifuges used to enrich uranium, dealing a major setback to Iran's nuclear program.

No one has claimed responsibility for the attack although speculation has centered on Israel and the United States.

Stuxnet and similar cyber-attacks allegedly launched against Iran by the West are likely to have steeled its resolve to launch a cyber-assault of its own, experts said.

"For the Iranian regime the conclusion is clear. War with the West, at least on the cyber front, has been joined, and the Iranian regime is mobilizing in response," Berman said.

Explore further: Twitter blocks two accounts on its Turkish network

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Iran moves websites to avoid cyber attacks

Dec 22, 2011

Iran has moved most of its government websites to local hosts to protect them from cyber attacks, the country's deputy communications minister said on Thursday.

Second computer worm 'hits Iran'

Apr 25, 2011

Iran has been hit with new malicious software as part of cyber attacks against the country, a military officer told Mehr news agency on Monday without specifying the target.

Report: Iran's paramilitary launches cyber attack

Mar 14, 2011

(AP) -- Iranian hackers working for the powerful Revolutionary Guard's paramilitary Basij group have launched attacks on websites of the "enemies," a state-owned newspaper reported Monday in a rare acknowledgment from Iran ...

Iran oil sector hit by 'cyber attack'

Apr 23, 2012

A voracious virus attack has hit computers running key parts of Iran's oil sector, forcing authorities to unplug its main oil export terminal from the Internet and to set up a cyber crisis team, according ...

Recommended for you

LinkedIn membership hits 300 million

Apr 18, 2014

The career-focused social network LinkedIn announced Friday it has 300 million members, with more than half the total outside the United States.

Researchers uncover likely creator of Bitcoin

Apr 18, 2014

The primary author of the celebrated Bitcoin paper, and therefore probable creator of Bitcoin, is most likely Nick Szabo, a blogger and former George Washington University law professor, according to students ...

White House updating online privacy policy

Apr 18, 2014

A new Obama administration privacy policy out Friday explains how the government will gather the user data of online visitors to WhiteHouse.gov, mobile apps and social media sites. It also clarifies that ...

User comments : 18

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

kochevnik
3 / 5 (6) Apr 26, 2012
Wait I thought Iran was going to unplug from the Internet last week. Now they are taking the top spot in cyber-prowlness? Israel needs to get their creative writing department together in a sit-down and get their stories straight. Then way Americans can finally figure out the what they are supposed to be thinking.

So nice of Americans to fight Israel's wars for them!

"No one has claimed responsibility for the attack although speculation has centered on Israel and the United States."

Wait! This story is Iran 'mobilizing' for cyberwar with West, not Israel 'mobilizing' for cyberwar with Iran, right? Just because you have an assignment to diss Iran with absolutely no evidence is no reason to stick with just the facts!.
islatas
3 / 5 (2) Apr 26, 2012
After reading this article I'm left with the impression that Iran is building up its cyber presence because the west attacked them first. No?
TrinityComplex
not rated yet Apr 26, 2012
islatas, Iran thinks that it was agents from the US or Israel that wrote the Stuxnet worm that caused the centrifuges in their nuclear enrichment plants to fail. Any evidence to prove such an allegation has not been made public, but considering their views of both countries, they are 'reasonable' default answers.
kaasinees
1.7 / 5 (6) Apr 26, 2012
That is because Israel and the US make Iran their enemies, who else would do this to Iran considering that pretty much the rest of the world is on good terms with Iran especially Russia since they are in contract with Iran for nuclear reactors in the first place.
TrinityComplex
5 / 5 (1) Apr 26, 2012
There is loose circumstantial evidence, such as statements from Kaspersky (Russian computer security company) and F-Secure (French computer security company), and seemingly tongue in cheek statements from US government officials at the time of the problems didn't help either ('We're happy they're having problems'). Still nothing solid, but again, reasonably likely suspects.

What bothers me is the likelyhood that this type of war could cause problems for more than just the US and Iran. Stuxnet specifically targeted Siemens equipment, which was being used in Iran's nuclear enrichment process, but it affected equipment elsewhere as well. Only 60% of the equipment that Stuxnet damaged was in Iran, meaning that the other 40% was in countries that probably had nothing to do with the targeted attack, if it was meant to hit Iran specifically, but both governments probably just consider these 'unfortunate casualties'.
Skepticus
1 / 5 (2) Apr 26, 2012
Can somebody enlighten me what is actually "rule of law", "transparency","civilized code of conduct", "truth", "lies", "propaganda"??? The meaning and their substance seems to be infinetely flexible, changeable, and proportional to the amount of firepower and influence of whoever defines them. So far un-enlightened, I can only read what they are meaning now, every time I look at the piece of toilet paper i just used to wipe my ass.
Tangent2
3 / 5 (2) Apr 27, 2012
There is nothing but speculation.. and to declare that Iran has a desire to target the US is not based on any fact.. like most of this article.

"He added that he has concluded after consultations with US partners in the Middle East that "Iran is the most destructive and malicious actor in the region and will persist in antagonizing the United States and our allies -- especially the state of Israel.""

In other words, he asked Israel about it, and they agreed, Iran must be gearing up for war against them.
kochevnik
1 / 5 (1) Apr 27, 2012
In other words, Iran will accept all major currencies for raw crude oil beginning in July and thus end the US dollar as a reserve currency and the US economy will implode along with it. Any country that doesn't knowtow to the US empire is a clear and present danger to Israel because without it, Israel will have to go fight their own wars.
NotAsleep
1 / 5 (2) Apr 27, 2012
That is because Israel and the US make Iran their enemies, who else would do this to Iran considering that pretty much the rest of the world is on good terms with Iran especially Russia since they are in contract with Iran for nuclear reactors in the first place.

Russia does not equate to "pretty much the rest of the world." Even Russia is more an ally of convenience since Russia can overcharge on all the products they sell to Iran and underpay on Iranian oil.

The number of countries that consider Iran a friend and ally can probably be counted on one hand. The debate over why Iran is seen so negatively is another story...
TrinityComplex
not rated yet Apr 27, 2012
In other words, Iran will accept all major currencies for raw crude oil beginning in July and thus end the US dollar as a reserve currency and the US economy will implode along with it.

I'm not seeing the reasoning here. Just because Iran, who is not even close to the single biggest seller of oil to the U.S. (Canada is the single nation with the biggest sale of oil to the US). In addition, this would just seem to indicate that other countries wouldn't have to first convert their funds to US dollars, not that they would suddenly get a price break. In addition, the U.S. economy is not based on buying oil from Iran, and their biggest export (really tough to find) is actually computer code, software. The most recent import data I could find put oil at the fourth biggest, but that was 1996. Could you provide a little more detail, Kochevnik?
kochevnik
1 / 5 (1) Apr 28, 2012
After July 2012 when the petrodollar collapses the decay will be unnoticeable while the US Corporation drifts and wallows for a few years. Then there will be a sudden selloff of dollars and overnight Americans will find their money hyperinflated to oblivion. Just as in CCCR there are many dollars(roubles) hiding in computers: accounting dollars. Those will be printed along with all the petrodollars dumped by empowered nations. The USA 39 year bond market will collapse and banks will stop giving cash. With a three day supply of food in cities Americans will raid and loot each other and the thin veneer of upselling and hustling will give way to smashing heads. Goon squads like homo security will be the driving career path.
kochevnik
1 / 5 (1) Apr 28, 2012
COCO
1 / 5 (1) Apr 28, 2012
And Iran did 911 and maybe killed Kennedy - they are devils incarnate!
Vendicar_Decarian
not rated yet Apr 28, 2012
Yes.. Your conclusion is the most logical.

"After reading this article I'm left with the impression that Iran is building up its cyber presence because the west attacked them first. No?"

Death to Israel.

antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (1) Apr 29, 2012
As Iran's illicit nuclear program continues to inflame tensions between Tehran and the West

Let's get this straight: Whether we like it or not - there is NOTHING illicit/illegal about Iran's nuclear program. There are no laws whatsoever forbidding a country from doing nuclear (weapons) research. There is also no law that forbids them to develop cyberwarfare capability.

So if any nations chooses to bomb the heck out of Iran for either of those, remember: it cannot be justified legally. It'll be purely a whim driven by fear (or, more likely: monetary interests in the reagion). There will be no moral high ground for the agressor.
Husky
not rated yet Apr 29, 2012
title should be "iran waking up after being hit by cyberattacks", that being said i believe the cyberattacks by the lets call them broadly western states signify that the west believe the iranian ambition for a nuke is real, its not a mere media ploy to discredit iran, that's what i think. And no we don't have the moral high ground, but when it comes to geopolitics what ultimately matters is the millitary high ground.
TrinityComplex
not rated yet Apr 30, 2012
@antialias: Iran agreed to the UN non-proliferation treaty, essentially agreeing not to (attempt to) produce nuclear weaponry. The treaty's teeth are mainly sanctions and embargoes, only extending into military action when there is obvious imminent danger. I'm not saying they should be bombed, and from what I understand there is very little evidence that they are trying to create a nuclear weapon, instead of just attempting to utilize nuclear power (though creating weapons grade nuclear material can be done with the same equipment as fuel enrichment, so oversight is not unwise). They did agree that they would not increase the number of nuclear weapons, and if they go against that agreement it at least needs to be addressed. Iran's leaders have also made public statements that they want Israel destroyed (though there are possible translation issues that misinterperet the severity of these statements), which is why their posession of a nuclear weapon is worrisome.
TrinityComplex
not rated yet Apr 30, 2012
To clarify, the specific statement I was referring to was when Ahmadinejad made the comment that 'Israel should be wiped off the map'. Not surprisingly the finding that this was a mistranslation was under-reported (if really reported at all). The actual statement was that 'the regime occupying Jerusalem must vanish from the pages of history'. Unfortunately the 'edit' button had disappeared before I could correct my previous post. Apologies for the misleading information.

More news stories

First steps towards "Experimental Literature 2.0"

As part of a student's thesis, the Laboratory of Digital Humanities at EPFL has developed an application that aims at rearranging literary works by changing their chapter order. "The human simulation" a saga ...

TCS, Mitsubishi to create new Japan IT services firm

India's biggest outsourcing firm Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) and Japan's Mitsubishi Corp said Monday they are teaming up to create a Japanese software services provider with annual revenues of $600 million.

Finnish inventor rethinks design of the axe

(Phys.org) —Finnish inventor Heikki Kärnä is the man behind the Vipukirves Leveraxe, which is a precision tool for splitting firewood. He designed the tool to make the job easier and more efficient, with ...

Meth mouth menace

Something was up in Idaho. While visiting a friend in Athol, a small town north of Coeur d'Alene, Jennifer Towers, director of research affairs at the Tufts University School of Dental Medicine, noticed ...