Pentagon analysts are afraid of a new wave of cyberwarfare from Iran in the wake of President Trump’s announcement on Tuesday. Because of the U.S. exit from the Iran nuclear agreement, the threat of cyberattacks is growing.
Within 24 hours of the president’s announcement, researchers at security firm Crowdstrike reported a “notable” shift in Iranian cyber-activity. According to The New York Times, Iranian hackers sent emails containing malware to diplomats. They were aimed at the foreign affairs offices of U.S. allies and telecommunications companies.
“With the nuclear deal ripped up, our nation and our allies should be prepared for what we’ve seen in the past,” former National Security Agency (NSA) Director Gen. Keith Alexander told the Times.
Matt Olsen, the NSA’s former general counsel, said that Iran’s ability to generate a cyber-attack has increased faster than analysts had predicted. He said that these new capabilities could be aimed at U.S. targets very quickly.
Iran Most Sophisticated Nation-state Adversary
“[Iran] is now among our most sophisticated nation-state adversaries,” Olsen told the Times. “We can anticipate those capabilities could well be turned against the U.S.”
There are more than a dozen sources indicating Iran will respond to Trump’s decision with a new round of even more sophisticated cyber-attacks.
“Given the history of Iranian cyberactivity in response to geopolitical issues, the American energy sector has every reason to expect some type of response from Iran,” Olsen said.
“We’re probably one of the most automated technology countries in the world,” Alexander added. “We are an innovation nation and our technology is at the forefront of that innovation. We could have a very good offense, but so do they. And unfortunately, we have more to lose.”
Previously, Iranian hackers were able to breach computers controlling the Bowman Avenue Dam in New York in 2013. But they were unable to disrupt the dam’s operations because it was under repair and offline.
President Trump declared on Tuesday that he will stop sending Iran “empty threats.”
“Today’s action sends a critical message: the United States no longer makes empty threats,” Trump said. “[The deal] didn’t bring calm, it didn’t bring peace, and it never will.”