Iran has shown a talent for cyberattacks, and businesses may be a prime target for retaliation

Iran has shown a talent for cyberattacks, and businesses may be a prime target for retaliation

Key Points

  1. Rising tensions with Iran are worrisome because Iran has previously conducted widespread cyberattacks against American businesses in response to U.S. government action, experts told CNBC.
  2. Iran also possesses a vast trove of intelligence, thanks to a sustained campaign of intellectual property theft against hundreds of U.S. academic institutions, according to the Department of Justice.
  3. It said targets have included universities that conduct biological, chemical, defense industrial, space and nuclear research for the federal government.

Tensions with Iran escalated Friday with news that the U.S. killed Qasem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s military Quds Forces.

Soleimani sponsored terrorist activities and was one of the most despised figures in the West, said Peter Marta, partner in the cybersecurity practice at law firm Hogan Lovells and an expert in Middle East intelligence. But Soleimani also served as more of a legitimized “head of state” among Shiite Muslim state agencies globally compared to other terrorist leaders.

This is particularly worrisome, since Iran has explicitly shown its ability to conduct widespread cyberattacks against American businesses in response to U.S. government action, notably against the biggest U.S. banks throughout 2012 and 2013, Marta said Friday.

“Soleimani was one of the top two or three most powerful figures in the region,” he said.

Iran also possesses a vast trove of intelligence, thanks to a sustained campaign of intellectual property theft against hundreds of U.S. academic institutions, according to the Department of Justice. It said the targets have included universities that conduct biological, chemical, defense industrial, space and nuclear research for the federal government.

Iran has also conducted malicious cyber operations against other countries, most notably Saudi Arabia’s oil facilities and government offices, and U.S. intelligence agencies have said Iran has attacked and planted malware on industrial facilities in the U.S., including dams.

https://www.cnbc.com/2020/01/03/iran-has-shown-a-significant-talent-for-cyberattacks.html

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