This particular cyber militia has been honing its skills and expanding since 2013. That’s when then-Iranian President Hassan Rouhani increased the country’s cybersecurity spending 12-fold, Business Insider reported in 2015. Rouhani allocated roughly $19.8 million to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (Tehran’s military) to up its cyber capabilities.
While Iran’s hacking efforts were initially focused on countering internal dissidence at the time, as the cyber army’s proficiency grew, so did its virtual fishing net. It has since begun targeting crucial infrastructure in rival country Saudi Arabia, which has seen countless attacks from Iran over the past three years.
Now, Tehran’s hacker army has reason to set its sights on the United States: Uncle Sam’s potential withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal that freed up roughly $100 billion in frozen Iranian assets.
U.S. President Donald Trump abhors this deal.
He touted a U.S. exit from the pact at the UN General Assembly on Sept. 19, claiming the treaty is an “embarrassment” and “one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the United States has ever entered into.”
The Possible Aftermath of an Iran Nuclear Deal Disruption
On Sept. 20, Tehran’s digital prowess was highlighted when online security firm FireEye exposed a massive cyber espionage campaign carried out by hackers in Iran.
The hackers had been actively targeting Saudi Arabian (again) and South Korean firms in the following sectors and subsectors:
- Oil refining
They did so, according to FireEye, in an effort to injure the nation’s big corporate enemies and to punish them for making bilateral oil deals with one another.
“The targeting of organizations in the aerospace and energy sectors indicates that the threat group is likely in search of strategic intelligence capable of benefitting a government or military sponsor,” FireEye explained.
Basically, FireEye experts confirm that the Iranian government is behind (or, at least, benefitting from) these efforts.
And proof of the damage the Internet militia can inflict is staggering…
Its hack on Saudi oil refineries, for example, unleashed computer-crippling malware that hit tens of thousands of PCs across the Middle East. It was carried out – in layman’s terms – with a “dropper” file placed (“dropped”) onto one business PC. When opened, that file disseminated malware throughout the entire firm. But it didn’t stop there. The malware then spread like a virus to the computers of said firm’s affiliates and subsidiaries, before rippling out even further to disrupt innocent members of the public’s online activities and home computer systems.
Iranian Hacker Armies Could Take Down These Multibillion-Dollar U.S. Firms
Here are just a handful of companies you could expect to see targeted (and Iran wouldn’t need to target many, considering how quickly its hackers’ malware spreads):
- Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA) – aviation/military/defense
- Lockheed Martin Corp. (NYSE: LMT) – aviation/military/defense
- Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM) – oil refining/petrochemicals
- Chevron Corp. (NYSE: CVX) – oil/petrochemicals
These four corporations listed above all have massive market caps in the double-digit billions, and each one has beaten the S&P 500 average this year as well.
Invest in America’s Cybersecurity
The U.S. Department of Defense has over 15,000 computer networks and 7 million computers connected to bases around the world.
This has made cyberspace the Pentagon’s “Achilles’ Heel.”
An Iran-based attack could be truly devastating. In fact, according to Forbes, the rise of hackers digitally breaking into major corporations and government agencies is projected to cause $2.1 trillion in damage.
But the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is about to stomp out that threat.
They’ve been working with a legendary hacker from the “D.C. Black Ops Unit” of a major defense contractor that also has deep ties to MIT.
Together they have developed a breakthrough new system that can withstand a national-level cyberattack… and counterstrike these clowns at “net speed.”
Full article: If the Iran Nuclear Deal Collapses, Iranian Hackers Will Target These U.S. Companies (MoneyMorning)