U.S vs. Iran: The Cyberwarfare Implications

U.S vs. Iran: The Cyberwarfare Implications
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by Sanjeev Kapoor 14 Jan 2020

2020 started with the American airstrike that killed one of Iran’s most powerful Generals, namely Qasem Soleimani. This assassination caused the tension between the United States and Iran to soar. During the past week, we have witnessed some symbolic strikes that attacked US targets. Furthermore, analysts predict that Iran will plan more dangerous attacks such as harassing ships in the Gulf and attacking other American targets with the help of Iranian proxy forces. In this landscape, there is also a fear of cyber-attacks against US assets, as part of a wider cyberwarfare plan against US.  While the dispute between Iran and the USA can be traced back to 1979, it’s the first time where cyber warfare is considered as a primary mechanism against an opponent. This is largely due to the significant role of cyberinfrastructures and services for modern societies.

 

Why Cyber Attacks are likely to happen?

There are several good reasons for which analysts predict that Iranian hackers will launch cyber-attacks against US assets and organizations. Specifically:

 

What kind of attacks to Expect?

Cyberwarfare provides a range of different ways of damaging an opponent. In this context, US could expect different types of attacks such as:

 

Cyber Defence Strategies

US institutions and organizations have no other option than preparing their defense. Some good practices include:

 

It’s hard to predict what the Iranian response in cyberspace would look like, but it’s highly likely that cyberattacks against US targets will occur in the coming months. This brings cyber defense issues in the foreground and alerts US organizations about their preparedness to alleviate vulnerabilities and to anticipate attacks. It should also alert all countries and institutions that rely on advanced IT infrastructures. In the years to come, the digital revolution, including the digitization of industry should come with proper investments in cyber defense. In the coming months, we are likely to watch some prominent episodes in the global cyberwarfare.

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