Iran Says New Cyber Warfare Is Attack on Economy (AMERICAN THINKER) By Reza Kahlili 05/01/12)
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Iran is blaming the U.S., U.K. and Israel for the new cyber attack
that struck the Internet and communications systems of its Oil
Ministry and national oil company, Iranian media has announced. The
Islamic regime says the West is not only going after its nuclear
facilities, now it´s going after its economy.
The regime said it immediately disconnected all Internet systems at
its main oil export terminal at Kharq Island. Iranian officials last
November acknowledged that a second computer virus, named Duqu and
labeled "Son of Stuxnet," had spread to Iranian nuclear sites and
Duqu uses much of the same codes as the 2010 Stuxnet, but instead of
destroying the system it affects, it penetrates the system and
creates "back door" vulnerabilities that can destroy the networks at
the command of its creators at a chosen time.
The Stuxnet virus, which originally infected Iranian nuclear
facilities, interrupted both the Natanz enrichment facility, where
over 1,000 centrifuges were destroyed, and the Bushehr nuclear power
plant, where it caused major operational delays. Iranian officials
blamed the earlier attacks on the U.S. and Israel.
At the time, Iran announced that it would retaliate, and an editorial
in Iran´s Keyhan newspaper, the mouthpiece of Iran´s supreme leader,
warned that "Americans are under the (mistaken) impression that they
are the only ones who can strike violent blows against their most
ardent opponents and not sustain any damage. America needs to worry
about an unknown player, sitting in some corner of the world, who
would launch an attack on America´s infrastructure."
A special report on Iran´s media outlet Irannuc.ir on Wednesday
indicated that the cyber warfare against Iran has now intensified.
The report reveals that after the recent cyber attack on Iran´s oil
infrastructure, information has been obtained that a joint team from
the U.S., U.K. and Israel was behind the most recent attack.
"It has been six months that almost every day there has been a big
cyber attack, which has so far been neutralized," the editorial said,
citing an informed expert. "The aggressors have tried hard to protect
their identity, but Iranian experts have now concluded that, one,
these attacks are taking place from special units within the Israeli
army and intelligence with full knowledge of its government, and two,
America and England have provided full technical assistance for these
attacks. Even NSA (America´s National Security Agency) has formed a
special unit for cyber warfare on Iran, and MI5 (England´s
intelligence service) also has provided technicians and assistance to
Israel to conduct these attacks."
The editorial, citing the expert, points to an important change in
tactics by the West: "In the past six months, the cyber attacks by
the West, instead of on our military and nuclear installations, have
been focused on economic installations. The purpose for such refocus
is to create problems and interruption for services for the people
and therefore create dissatisfaction among the populace."
The West is having a hard time achieving its goals as most of Iran´s
essential industries work offline and are not connected to the
Internet, the expert told the media outlet, and the only way to
infect those are by agents on the ground.
"It is important to note that the recent attacks on Iran´s facilities
by Israel, England and the U.S. are a reaction to attacks on their
own infrastructure," the editorial said, citing the expert.
As reported last year, the Islamic regime has concluded that the U.S.
power grids represent the best opportunity for a cyber attack, as
more U.S. utilities are moving their control systems to the Internet
and using smart-grid technology.
Security specialists warned Congress Thursday that Iran is recruiting
an army of hackers to target the U.S. power grid, water systems and
other facilities for a cyber attack.
Ilan Berman, vice president of the American Foreign Policy Council,
told the House Homeland Security subcommittee: "Over the past three
years, the Iranian regime has invested heavily in both defensive and
offensive capabilities. Equally significant, its leaders now
increasingly appear to view cyber warfare as a potential avenue of
action against the United States."
Berman warned that in the coming months as America confronts Iran´s
nuclear program, there is a potential for retaliation by the Iranian
regime at vital U.S. infrastructure facilities, with devastating
According to reports from the U.S. Department of Energy, America´s
power grid remains vulnerable to cyber attack, a result of slow
implementation of computer security standards. A successful cyber
attack on the North American power grid systems could disrupt the
economy and possibly create a national trauma.
Reza Kahlili is a pseudonym for a former CIA operative in Iran´s
Revolutionary Guards and the author of the award winning book, A Time
to Betray. He is a senior Fellow with EMPact America, a member of the
Task Force on National and Homeland Security and teaches at the U.S.
Department of Defense´s Joint Counterintelligence Training Academy
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