Wait…not China?

In an interesting turn off events America has seemingly become the target of Iran’s new cyber army.  I guess this really just means China does not have to work as hard.  Although, with all seriousness Iran is a force to be reckoned with.  Ever since the Stuxnet virus Iran has rapidly developed their cyber power.  With that said they have not reached the heights of many European countries or China and Japan, but as the director of Homeland Security Policy said “And what they lack in capability they more than make up for in intent.”  This intent was enough to delay users of American Bank, Citi-bank, and JP Morgan and Chase co.  Apparently, this was in response to western economic sanctions against Iran’s nuclear program.  In these attacks users were only delayed use of the company’s websites but in another incident that Iran has been accused of instigating this was not the case.

Saudi Aramco was the target of a virus now known as Shamoon.  The attack was well planned and included the use of insiders.  This code of Shamoon itself was similar to flame with the most notable similarity being the erasing component of the virus.  Shamoon was able to erase data on 75% of Aramco’s corporate computers and a burning American flag replaced all the data on these computers.  Aramco hired security experts from Symantec and flew twelve American experts out whom when they landed already had a handle on how the virus worked.  Despite the timely response of Aramco and Symantec the attack was devastating enough to become the world’s greatest example of cyber corporate espionage.  This all occurred during Lailat al Qadr which is one of Islam’s holiest nights of the year.

In both cases hacking groups took responsibility for the results of these incidents.  However, at least in case of the Aramco breach the level of sophistication required to pull off the attack was great.  This seems to be what has many nations believing that the attacks which occurred may actually have originated in Iran.  There are other motivating factors but what I want to know from my classmates is if they believe that Iran is behind these attacks or if this is sensationalized to sell papers?

These are the links I visited while writing this paper:

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/09/23/iran-cyberattacks-denial-idUSL5E8KN19R20120923

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/24/business/global/cyberattack-on-saudi-oil-firm-disquiets-us.html?pagewanted=1&ref=technology&_r=0

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/24/iran-cyber-attack-threat_n_2011014.html

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9 thoughts on “Wait…not China?

  1. It’s a matter of time until cyber espionage and attacks will be instantly associated with Iran or China. This is bound to lead to a certain level of discrimination, and propaganda to spawn from this. It’s not right the United States instantly points its finger at those two countries every time.

    • I agree however I think the real issue if that there is a large number of journalist who just don’t understand what is occurring and because of that they start pointing fingers and then we end up with what you said. Not to mention the public does not really care if you blame something on Iran or China because after all their “EVIL”.

    • I think is very interesting, because of evidence of such attacks are basically non-existent to the public. Why would the government ever tell us what exactly happened anyway? It’s a huge security threat. The difficult part is adjusting and trying to understand that probably very little to nothing reported is accurate, not (only) because the government doesn’t want the general public to know the whole story, but also because they shouldn’t know… hope that makes sense. One of the things the government could do is raise awareness for security issues. Public schools maybe…

  2. I have actually wondered if all of the allegations that the US and other countries make, are accurate. I believe you are right though; there have to be cases where countries that have nothing to do with an attack are still accused.

    • Yup, the main problem is not that America suspects countries like Iran and China attack us but the fact that papers seem to like to report this prematurely. I do not know if you picked up on this but the attacks which occurred against the American banks sounded like Denial of Service attacks. Although, the articles I read did not even mention that, they just said the banks were hacked. That in my mind is just awful reporting and shows how we have people who just don’t understand cyber security at a reasonable level.

  3. My term paper was in cyber attacks in the Middle East, and as far as I’ve seen, a huge number of cyber attacks have been done by Iranian hackers. Also , in addition to the middle east, the US have got some of these attacks as you mentioned in the first part of the blog. For the Saudi Aramco attack, I would say 99% Iran did that and the prime evidence for that is the sectarian fights that happened in Saudi Arabia before that, and the name “Shamoon” would never come from any country in the world but Iran.

  4. I’d be worried that the virus is truly eradicated. Hacked networks can be capable of wrecking any of our electronic controlled infrastructures. Which is not a good picture. I hear in windows 8 every copy will have the ability when connected to the net to be remotely shut down as an unauthorized computer. I wonder how well this would work to kill zombie pc’s aiding any attack.

  5. What do you think the actual risk is to American citizens? Should we all be worried that cyber terrorists will begin targeting random people, or do you think that the cyber attacks will be more aimed at the government and high authority officials? Its kind of another setback that America has one more threat to keep an eye open for.

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