Iran, the Cyber Threat... Are We Creating A New Enemy?

Monday, January 02, 2012

Plagiarist Paganini


(Article translated from the original Italian)

"Iran, the super power capable of threatening the world".

This is the title of a hypothetical sensationalist article aimed to enhance the computer skills of a nation of which little is known.

In recent months a strange coincidence of events is helping to fuel the belief that the majority of Western countries perceive these people as a terrible threat.


We read of a country on the cutting edge of cyber warfare, a Nation that is able to develop and implement an efficient cyber strategy despite the objective difficulties that continue daily.

With a population of enlightened scientists able to hijack a sophisticated military drone with a spectacularly unlikely cyber attack against its GPS navigator system, scholars are pampered by the central Governmen'st spending on cyber defense that seems to garner a large portion of its revenue.

The controversial events of the Stuxnet malware seem to confirm my statements, someone has a special interest in destabilizing the country by attacking critical structures with sophisticated cyber attacks using innovative cyber weapons.

We read of SCADA systems for a nuclear plant brought to its knees by a virusthat  was probably introduced to the critical infrastructure using an USB stick, and in the months after Google CEO Eric Schmidt said that:

"Iranians are unusually talented [at cyber warfare] for some reason we do not fully understand."

Explicitly referencing the certification authority Diginotar hack and the case of the drone RQ-170, Iran seems to be considered a serious threat in cyberspace, creating a constant concern.

But are we sure that this is true? No one doubts Iran's capabilities, but there is no doubt that their means and financial resources are nothing compared to those of the U.S., China, Israel and Russia. Although we are faced with a Nation that has fully understood the importance of a cyber strategy, we cannot certainly consider it more offensive than others.

Personally I do not believe a single word written about hijacking of the drone. A security expert is willing to believe that the techicals have led to the drone landing in enemy territory. I hesitate to comment on in-depth technical know how, but it is unlikely the possibility of using injection of fake coordinates with hijacking purpose led to the downing.

We face with communication problems, signals strenght and processes of alignment for the communications, power signals to be delivered must overlap the rightful source of data (consider that the drone was on patrol in an area next to a nuclear plant and therefore a cyber power as Iran is expected to have jamming systems), data encryption processes with which no one discussed so far.

The drone is gone in my opinion due to calculation errors in a flat area and for this reason it appeared healthy. The Iranians have exploited the incident to the maximum in terms of media and propaganda.

The more I read the more I am convinced that someone agree to create a new monster, a new enemy against which to unleash its rage in a historical moment in which the Western world is fighting with the worst economical crisis ever. Are we recognizing this enemy in Iran? For what reasons?

Main reasons I can immagine are:

  • Search for a cohesion of purpose against a common enemy to strengthen political leadership that is losing support.
  • Trigger a war machine that is known as capable of allowing massive investments in the extraordinary arrangements, helping companies that support the Government, the same firms present around the tables of the decisions that are expressing concern about the growing cyber ability of Iran.

Compounding my thesis there are two events occurred in recent days that will change the political landscape in the coming months:

  1. death of the dictator of North Korea, Kim Jong Il
  2. the end of the conflict in Iraq

The first event could have substantial implications on cyber space, reflecting the fact that many people interested in destabilizing the area, many highly trained in cyber warfare.

The second event in my opinion is rather crucial in economic terms. Substantially changing an item of expenditure of the U.S. government, and not only, that could free up significant resources to invest elsewhere... cyber weapons and more generally in the cyber strategy.

In this scenario do not forget that a wrong media management misrepresented Iranian perceptions, but sir, Iran's children have the same rights as our children, so we must think first when considering them hostile to us because they will pay the bill.

In my opinion, Iran is a nation to be taken into account, which boasts a population of excellent researchers and understood how critical is the garrison of the cyber space, so we must not demonize Iran, it would be what in football terms we call autogoal, which is extremely counterproductive.


Possibly Related Articles:
Hacking Iran Cyberwar Cyber Security Stuxnet Infrastructure Drone RQ-170
Post Rating I Like this!
Laura Walker You mean those crazy kids currently threatening our carrier?
Plagiarist Paganini Hello Laura, I might be unpopular but I have several doubts regarding the extraordinary ability we believe Iran has in cyber warfare. Few criminals stain an entire country because, but a lot of people hate the war but they can not shout it.
My main concerns are more for

-possible interference and cooperation of other governments as China and Russia
-internal pressure by corporations to influence the policy of nations like the U.S. These companies would profit from conflict.

Dog that barks does not bite
Laura Walker Hi Pierluigi, I don't hate anybody and am new here. Pleased to meet you =)

I view Iran like an overconfident blue belt in a dojo. Their own lack of control makes them dangerous.

Looking forward to getting to know you and everyone here better.

Plagiarist Paganini Hello Laura, I will have expressed myself badly. I understand your point of view. I understand your concerns to which I added my own. That's it.
Thanks again for comments, I appreciate the comparison.
There will be opportunities to hear us.
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