On April 26 2012 the Committee on Homeland Security’s Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence and the Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection, and Security Technologies held a joint hearing entitled "Iranian Cyber Threat to the U.S. Homeland".
The Ilan Berman´s statement, Vice President of American Foreign Policy Council, have drawn my attention.
Mr Berman told that "[...] over the past three years, the Iranian regime has invested heavily in both defensive and offensive capabilities in cyberspace. Equally significant, its leaders now increasingly appear to view cyber warfare as a potential avenue of action against the United States. [...]
Iran has significant capacity in this sphere. A 2008 assessment by the policy institute Defense Tech identified the Islamic Republic as one of five countries with significant nation-state cyberwarfare potential. Similarly, in his 2010 book Cyber War, former National Security Council official Richard Clarke ranks Iran close behind the People’s Republic of China in terms of its potential for “cyber-offense.” These capabilities, moreover, are growing. In his January 2012 Senate testimony, General Clapper alluded to the fact that Iran’s cyber capabilities “have dramatically increased in recent years in depth and complexity.” [...]
Iran’s expanding exploitation of cyberspace can be attributed to two principal geopolitical drivers:
1. the Iranian regime’s efforts to counter Western influence and prevent the emergence of a “soft revolution” within its borders. [...]
Digital barrier has grown exponentially over the past three years, as Iran’s leadership has sought to quell domestic dissent and curtail the ability of its opponents to organize.
The proximate cause of this effort was the fraudulent June 2009 reelection of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to the Iranian presidency, which catalyzed a groundswell of domestic opposition that became known colloquially as the “Green Movement.” In the months that followed, Iran’s various opposition elements relied extensively on the Internet and social networking tools to organize their efforts, communicate their messages to the outside world, and rally public opinion to their side. In turn, the Iranian regime utilized information and communication technologies extensively in its suppression of the protests—and thereafter has invested heavily in capabilities aimed at controlling the Internet and restricting the ability of Iranians to access the World-Wide Web.
This focus has only been reinforced by recent revolutionary fervor throughout the Middle East and North Africa ("Arab Spring") [...];
2. the Iran’s interest in expanding conflict with the West over its nuclear ambitions.
Since the Fall of 2009, Iran has suffered a series of sustained cyber attacks on its nuclear program. The most well-known of these is Stuxnet, the malicious computer worm that attacked the industrial control systems at several Iranian nuclear installations. [...]
For the Iranian regime, however, the conclusion is clear. War with the West, at least on the cyber front, has been joined, and the Iranian regime is mobilizing in response. In recent months, it reportedly has launched an ambitious $1 billion governmental program to boost national cyber capabilities—an effort that involves acquisition of new technologies, investments in cyber defense, and the creation of a new cadre of cyber experts. It has also activated a “cyber army” of activists which, while nominally independent, has carried out a series of attacks on sites and entities out of favor with the Iranian regime, including social networking site Twitter, Chinese search engine Baidu, and the websites of Iranian reformist elements."
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