- Marco Rubio: U.S. at social, moral crossroads
- ‘We’re coming for you, Barack Obama’: Top U.S. official discloses threat from ISIL
- White flags baffle NYPD: ‘We’re lucky it wasn’t a bomb’
- N.Y. Gov. Cuomo’s office interfered with, pressured corruption commission: report
- Brit lawmaker: I would fire on Israel if I lived in Gaza
- VA apologizes to forgotten Marine veteran locked in Fla. clinic, forced to call 911
- U.S. social and economic trends on worrisome track, survey finds
- McDonald nomination unanimously referred to full Senate
- Chuck Norris honorary chairman of NRA voter registration campaign
- GOP outraged Obamacare investigators able to get coverage with fake IDs
Iran’s cyber warfare could hit public more than military: report
Question of the Day
Iran’s limited cyber capabilities enable it to launch attacks against the U.S. that would do more damage to public perceptions than actual infrastructure, a new study said.
The study was published Monday by the Atlantic Council, a pro-NATO think tank in Washington.
Previous cyberattacks on nation-states, like the Russian-backed one against Estonia in 2007, were not destructive and “caused a political crisis, not a military one,” the study says. In the same way, “a significant Iranian cyberattack against the United States would take on outsized importance, regardless of its technical sophistication.”
An anonymous cyberattack that shuts down the New York Stock Exchange for a few hours or cuts electricity to a major U.S. city could color public public perceptions during a military confrontation with Iran, the report says.
The Atlantic Council’s Iran Task Force and its Cyber Statecraft Initiative worked together on the study — an analysis of various cyber warfare options available to Tehran in the event of a confrontation with U.S. forces.
The study cites the U.S., some Western nations and Russia as “tier one” cyber powers. China is “a step behind them” at “tier two,” and Iran, which only recently has begun to develop an online warfare capability, is a “third tier” power.
Hackers widely believed to be backed by Tehran already have launched attacks over the past year that slowed or knocked offline the websites of major U.S. banks.
And North Korea has been blamed for a cyberattack using malicious software that paralyzed ATM networks and three TV broadcasters in South Korea in March.
“There is no reason to believe that Iran’s growing cyber army is any less capable than that of an isolated Asian rogue state with few IT graduates, limited Internet access, and a paucity of computers,” the study says.
Iran could easily hide its hand in any cyberattacks by mounting them via hackers-for-hire in other countries like Russia or Lebanon, the study says.
“Given Iran’s conventional weakness, cyber is an attractive alternative — the ultimate asymmetric weapon,” states the study.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Shaun Waterman is an award-winning reporter for The Washington Times, covering foreign affairs, defense and cybersecurity. He was a senior editor and correspondent for United Press International for nearly a decade, and has covered the Department of Homeland Security since 2003. His reporting on the Sept. 11 Commission and the tortuous process by which some of its recommendations finally became ...
- Senator's memo shows Iran links in Homeland Security's troubled immigration program
- Help wanted: Homeland Security plagued by vacancies at the top
- Dems back bill to fix problems in investor visa program
- Democrats proceed with Mayorkas vote despite pending investigation
- NSA monitored 'World of Warcraft' players
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
The subsidies are a hit with patients who don't exist
- CARSON: Costco and the perils of mixing politics and business
- House task force to recommend National Guard on border, faster deportations
- Democratic Sen. John Walsh plagiarized War College master's thesis: report
- 'We're coming for you, Barack Obama': Top U.S. official discloses threat from ISIL terrorists
- Obama orders Pentagon advisers to Ukraine
- Netanyahu's Wikipedia page replaced with giant Palestinian flag
- David Perdue defeats Jack Kingston in Georgia Republican Senate primary runoff
- Hezbollah warring in Syria could join fight against Israel
- Despite rhetoric, gun prosecutions plummet under Obama
- DEACE: How to go from civil rights icon to bigot in one quote
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq