Iran’s Cyber Attacks Are Getting Much More Sophisticated

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In February, a year after the Las Vegas Sands was hit by a devastating cyber-attack that ruined many of the computers running its casino and hotel operations, the director of national intelligence, James Clapper, publicly told Congress what seemed obvious: Iranian hackers were behind the attack.
Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire chief executive of Sands, who is a major supporter of Israel and an ardent opponent of negotiating with Tehran, had suggested an approach to the Iran problem a few months before the attack that no public figure had ever uttered in front of cameras.
“What I would say is: ‘Listen, you see that desert out there? I want to show you something,'” Adelson said at Yeshiva University in Manhattan in October 2013. He then argued for detonating a US nuclear weapon where it would not “hurt a soul,” except “rattlesnakes and scorpions or whatever,” before adding, “Then you say, ‘See, the next one is in the middle of Tehran.'”
Instead, Tehran directed an attack at the desert of Nevada. Now a new study of Iran’s cyber-activities, to be released by Norse, a cyber-security firm, and the American Enterprise Institute, concludes that beyond the Sands attack, Iran has greatly increased the frequency and skill of its cyber-attacks, even while negotiating with world powers over limits on its nuclear capabilities.
“Cyber gives them a usable weapon, in ways nuclear technology does not,” said Frederick Kagan, who directs the institute’s Critical Threats Project and is beginning a larger effort to track Iranian cyber-activity. “And it has a degree of plausible deniability that is attractive to many countries.”
Kagan argues that if sanctions against Iran are suspended under the proposed nuclear accord, Iran will be able to devote the revenue from improved oil exports to cyber-weapons. But it is far from clear that that is what Iran would do.
When Clapper named Iran in the Sands attack, it was one of the few instances in which the United States had identified a specific country that it believed was using such attacks for political purposes. The first came in December, when President Barack Obama accused North Korea of launching a cyber attack on Sony Pictures. Other United States officials have said that Iran attacked US banks in retaliation for sanctions and that it destroyed computers at the oil giant Saudi Aramco in retaliation for the close Saudi ties with the United States.
The evidence from the Norse report, along with analyses by US intelligence agencies, strongly suggests that Iran has made much greater use of cyber-weapons over the past year, despite international sanctions. 
Adeptis: http://bit.ly/1ySKTgq

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