Iran has Built a Cyber Army Faster than Imagined.

 

Iran has increased its cybersecurity spending 12-fold since President Hassan Rouhani assumed office in 2013, according to a report released Monday by British technology research firm Small Media. Vowing to ramp up the country's cyber capabilities, Rouhani has given the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) an annual cybersecurity budget of roughly $19.8 million. 

While Iran's initial cyber efforts were focused on countering internal dissidence, the government put its cyber experts on the offensive after an American computer worm, Stuxnet, infiltrated Iranian government servers and ruined almost one-fifth of the country's nuclear centrifuges in June 2010.

By November 2010, the Basij Cyber Council had trained 1,500 cyber-warriors who, according to IRGC commander Hossein Hamedani, "have assumed their duties and will in the future carry out many operations," according to a report released in 2013 by the Middle East Media Research Institute.

The US government is now at a severe disadvantage when it comes to protecting the country's critical infrastructure from foreign hackers, especially given the current global political climate. The US's ongoing nuclear talks with Iran and its frosty relationship with Russia, a major Iranian ally, have made conditions ripe for Iran to try and use its cyber capabilities as negotiating leverage.
 
Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei speaks with Russia's President Vladimir Putin during an official meeting in Tehran 

Colleges and universities in Iran also offer their students internships with notorious Iranian hacker groups, who they can then go on to work for after they graduate. 

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