Iran: Cyber-Attack Threat Towards United States Increases
By Mahmoud Hakamian
Now that the United States has imposed its latest round of tough economic sanctions on Iran, there is concern that the frequency of dangerous cyber-attacks carried out by Iranian agents will rise. Security analysts and experts say that American interests are in danger.
Furthermore, they believe that Iran is growing more sophisticated in the way it is carrying out its attacks and there is a lot more focus on the use of social media platforms to influence public opinion and slander opposition groups.
Twitter recently announced that more than 700 fake accounts with links to the Iranian regime have been closed. Analysts looking at the content of posts published by the fake accounts have said that it was essentially government propaganda.
Facebook and Instagram also announced that similar accounts with links to the Iranian regime had been closed down.
Earlier this year, the United States began to prepare for an onslaught of attacks from Iran. A former Iran manager of the office of the Director of National Intelligence, Norm Roule, said: “I think there is a good chance Iran will use cyber, probably not an attack that is so destructive that it would fragment its remaining relationship with Europe, but I just don’t think the Iranians will think there is much cost to doing this. And it’s a good way to show their capacity to inflict economic cost against the United States.”
Iranian hackers have, on occasion, posed as Western or Israeli cyber security firms to obtain login details. The FBI also warned that Iran could search for potential vulnerabilities by scanning networks or it could carry out data-deletion attacks.
Brett Bruen, former White House director of Global Engagement and president of the Global Situation Room Inc., said: “We are very likely to see Tehran in the coming days and weeks target American interests. The most vulnerable and important objective for them are American businesses. They see effecting some economic impact as retribution.”
With regards to the activity on social media, Bruen acknowledged that many accounts had been taken down, but also pointed out that many more have not been taken down, quite simply because they have not been detected.
The U.S. is implementing a maximum pressure campaign to put an end to the Iranian regime’s malign activities. Its financing of terrorism, its spread of chaos across the Middle East, its unnecessary involvement in the internal affairs of other nations and its complete disregard for human rights are all issues that the Trump administration is trying to address.
The EU, on the other hand, is undermining these efforts by continuing to lead policies of appeasement towards Iran. This was the approach taken by former U.S. President Barack Obama. He turned a blind eye to Iran’s belligerence and he even disregarded his own red lines when it came to the use of chemical weapons in Syria. His approach failed miserably.
But most of all, appeasement is a major detriment to the people of Iran who want the regime to be held accountable and to be held responsible for its actions.