The United States is preparing for cyber attacks, which Iran might launch, in response to the re-imposition of US sanctions this week by President Donald Trump, according to cyber security and intelligence experts.
According to the NewsMax website, Norm Roll, former director of the Iran division in the office of the director of national intelligence, confirmed that Tehran would summon its electronic forces in response to the sanctions.
“I think there is a favorable stage for Iran to use cyber attacks, and perhaps not so destructive that it will break up its remaining relationship with Europe, but I do not think the Iranians will think there is a big cost to do that,” Roll said.
“It is an appropriate way to demonstrate their ability to incur economic costs against the United States,” he said.
“Cyber activities in Iran against the world have been the most influential, expensive and aggressive in the history of the Internet after Russia,” says Roll.
Denis Coates, the director of national intelligence, declined to comment on the possibility that Iran would respond to sanctions through cyber operations against the United States.
While the FBI issued a warning that pirates in Iran “could conduct network scans for potential vulnerabilities to data-deletion attacks against US-based networks in response to the US government’s withdrawal from the nuclear deal.”
Accenture Security, a global consulting, management and technology firm, warned that the new sanctions “will probably push that country to intensify state-sponsored e-threat activities, especially if Iran fails to keep its European counterparts committed to the nuclear deal.”
Josh Ray, the company’s managing director for cyber defense, said he had seen no evidence that Iran had launched any new Internet operations, but said Iran had the ability to do so and had historically acted in a retaliatory manner.
“This remains a high-potential threat to deal with espionage,” Ray said.
“Organizations must take this threat seriously, they need to understand how their actions can be affected.”
Iran’s cyber attacks in the past targeted nearly 50 financial institutions and led to the loss of tens of millions of dollars.
Repeated attacks have disrupted bank websites and prevented hundreds of thousands of customers from accessing their online accounts.
US prosecutors have accused Iranian pirates of ordering the attacks, which also targeted computer systems at a dam in New York.
Last March, the Justice Department also filed charges against nine Iranians accused of working under the guidance of the Revolutionary Guard to steal large amounts of academic data from hundreds of universities in the United States and Aruba, as well as e-mail accounts belonging to employees of government agencies and private companies.
US intelligence agencies have previously said Iran is one of the main foreign threats facing America, along with Russia, China and North Korea.
The risks of Iran’s cyber attacks are increasing with the resumption of US sanctions on its first round last Tuesday, which began with a financial ban on dealing with US dollars, Iran’s auto sector and the purchase of commercial aircraft and metals, including gold.
The toughest sanctions targeting the Iranian oil sector and the central bank will be imposed in early November.