The Cybersecurity 202: Get ready for serious cyberattacks from Iran, experts say


The United States should expect serious cyberattacks from Iran in the next few months, according to an overwhelming majority of experts surveyed by The Cybersecurity 202.

Those digital attacks are likely to hit oil refineries, financial institutions and other U.S. targets as retaliation for the U.S. killing of a top Iranian general, a whopping 85 percent of respondents to our Network survey said.

“Iran is dangerous because they have the intent, motivation and capabilities. While their cyber capabilities are not on par with Russia and China, they are innovative and can cause both physical and psychological disruption,” warned Kiersten Todt, president of Liberty Group Ventures, and who led an Obama-era cybersecurity commission.

“We should expect attacks of all stripes from Iran over the next few months,” said Betsy Cooper, director of the Aspen Institute’s Tech Policy Hub and a former Department of Homeland Security cybersecurity official.

The Network is a panel of more than 100 leaders from government, academia and the private sector who vote in our ongoing, informal survey on cybersecurity issues. (You can see the full list of experts here. Some were granted anonymity in exchange for their participation.)

One big reason Iran is likely to ramp up cyberattacks is because it’s easier to focus them at a low enough level that they don’t prompt U.S. retaliation compared with conventional military or terrorist attacks, many experts said. The United States and Iran backed away from further military hostilities after the killing of a Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani promoted an Iranian missile strike on two U.S. bases in Iraq.

“Iran will be looking for ways to cause pain in the United States without provoking a severe counterattack,” Stewart Baker, a Steptoe and Johnson attorney and former NSA general counsel, said.

Source: The Washington Post

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