Former Intel Committee Head: Iran now a ‘world class’ cyber threat
Iran has emerged as a leading cyber threat and has already hacked into the U.S. defense establishment and financial institutions, likely with the help of the Russians, according to a former chairman of the House’s Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.
Iran has boosted its cyber capabilities in a “surprisingly” short amount of time and possesses the ability to launch successful cyber attacks on American financial markets and its infrastructure, former Rep. Peter Hoekstra (R., Mich.) told a panel of lawmakers on Tuesday.
The Iranian regime’s emergence as a “world class” cyber threat likely has to do with its close ties to Russia, according to Hoekstra, who warned during a hearing on Iran’s global terror activities that the two countries will only boost coordination on the cyber front in the coming months.
“Iran and Russia will develop a much closer relationship,” said Hoekstra, who was on the House’s intelligence committee from 2001 to 2011. “Russia and Iran have so much to gain from more significant cooperation [and] the immediate impacts will be profound.”
Iran’s cyber capabilities have become increasingly sophisticated, though the United States remains underprepared to respond to these threats, Hoekstra said.
“They’ve made a significant commitment to developing cyber capabilities and they’re doing it successfully,” he said. “In a very short period of time,” Iran has become “almost world class in the cyber area, nipping at the heels of the U.S.”
“The cyber threat is real, and it’s worrisome,” Hoekstra added.
Iran’s steady growth in the cyber arena has occurred under the nose of the U.S. intelligence community, Hoekstra said.
There have “always been concerns about how little we actually know about Iran,” he said.
The cyber buildup has occurred “in a very short period of time, and it’s surprising,” he said.
With Iran and Russia combining their resources, a joint cyber attack on the United States could be devastating.
“You would see something that would cause economic disruption,” as well as an attack “potentially against our infrastructure,” Hoekstra said. “The scary thing is they have the capability to do that and we don’t necessarily have the means to defend it. If something like that occurred it would be very, very difficult to pinpoint who the perpetrators would be. It could be Iran, but it’s very difficult to track it back to Iran.”
“That asymmetry in the battle field they face is one of the reasons they strive to have the terror capabilities that they do, and having that ability to hit our homeland provides a retaliatory effect they don’t have with conventional weapons,” McInnis said. “It needs to be able to operate here and threaten the U.S. on our own territory.
Full article: Iran, Russia Partnering to Launch Cyber Attacks (Washington Free Beacon)