The U.S. is engaged in a quiet cyber war with Iran. In mid-June, Iranian hackers launched a broad attack targeting U.S. oil and gas entities. Some of the cyber attacks involve data collection. Others try to deploy “wiper” software that can eliminate entire networks. Iranian cyber agents are considered especially skilled at using social media to disseminate misinformation.
In late June, the U.S. military carried out a cyber attack on an Iranian military intelligence group in response to the Iranian military actions in the Strait of Hormuz. Iran has long developed cyber capabilities as a warfare strategy to target the weakness of a stronger opponents.
Between diplomacy and conventional warfare is a “gray zone” that includes covert cyber tactics such as sabotage, disinformation and fomenting political unrest. The U.S. is the most vulnerable because of our advanced digital economy.
This current cyber skirmish with Iran is trivial compared to any future conflict with China or Russia. Cybersecurity should be the national priority. Russia used cyber tactics to interfere in the 2016 elections. We know this because 34 people and three companies have been indicted, convicted or plead guilty to illegal associations with the Russian government.
Any investigation into this particular cyber-attack President Trump has characterized as an attack on his own popularity. President Trump has intentionally or unintentionally distracted us from making cybersecurity the pivotal issue of our time. Please contact your representative and the White House and tell them that you expect them to make cybersecurity our nation’s top priority.