After the killing of Iranian Major General Qassem Suleimani, which was led by the US, Iran has vowed to seek its revenge. But along with the fear of physical war, security experts are warning that major cyber warfare may also break out.
It’s believed that these potential hacking attacks could target power grids, healthcare facilities, banks and communication networks.
However, Ilia Kolochenko, founder and CEO of web security company ImmuniWeb, is not overly worried. He comments: “I think in the near future we will not observe major cyber-attacks triggered by the military operation in question. Enemies of the US have already silently breached what they could, stealing valuable information including intelligence data, intellectual property and trade secrets. The majority of sophisticated APTs have already happened. Regrettably, their complexity often makes them undetectable and uninvestigable.”
Undoing de-escalation efforts
Since the Stuxnet attack in 2010, Iran has invested heavily in cyber-attack forces. This enabled the US and Israel to degrade Iran’s nuclear capabilities through a computer virus.
Until recent events, cyber-attacks between Iran and the US have reduced problems between the countries by giving a means of non-violent confrontation.
Following the assignation of the General, it’s now feared this will no longer be the case.
The question now is what will be involved in the counterattacks and where they will be coming from.
“Obviously, a spiralling wave of unsophisticated attacks, including website defacements or primitive ransomware attacks, will probably target US citizens now. Most such attacks will, however, be undertaken by individuals unrelated to governmental structures. Therefore, American companies and individuals should be particularly vigilant in cyber space while this conflict goes on.” Says Kolochenko.