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  • - The United States' economy is the most sophisticated

  • and technology-reliant on Earth probably

  • and that makes us very vulnerable

  • to adversaries who are seeking to disrupt us.

  • - [Cardinale] Adversaries like China,

  • North Korea, Russia, and, of course, Iran.

  • As the Iran Nuclear Agreement quickly unravels,

  • security experts say they've seen an uptick

  • in Iranian cyber attacks

  • specifically targeting the United States.

  • And the questions that experts are asking are

  • what new tactics do hackers have up their sleeves?

  • Will they use more ransomware to hold data hostage

  • or cyber-spying and espionage to access secret information?

  • And, more importantly,

  • is the U.S. actually prepared to defend itself?

  • Because the more technologically-reliant

  • the United States becomes,

  • the more vulnerable it is to disruption.

  • Just look at the top two industries

  • that experts say suffer the most significant cyber attacks.

  • It's finance and high tech.

  • - What's so interesting about cyber

  • is it's a very accessible capability

  • and we're seeing Iran is one of those countries

  • that is actually using third parties in-country,

  • probably contractors, to develop their own capabilities.

  • And they've been doing that really since Stuxnet incident,

  • when they decided to really ramp up their program.

  • - [Cardinale] Stuxnet, the most sophisticated

  • infrastructure hack to date

  • and the most aggressive attack

  • attributed to the U.S. and Israel

  • against Iran's Natanz Uraniaum Enrichment Facility.

  • Stuxnet damaged some 1,000 centrifuges,

  • infected 30,000 computers,

  • and brought the entire operation to a grinding halt.

  • - There's this been fear that more and more actors

  • will be able to do something similar,

  • which is move in through this cyber realm

  • and cause a kind of physical consequence.

  • - [Cardinale] When Iran downed a U.S. drone

  • near the Strait of Hormuz in 2019,

  • the U.S. launched a cyber attack

  • that wiped an Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps database.

  • Without that data, Iran lost a major asset

  • that would help in their attacks on tankers

  • in the Persian Gulf.

  • According to experts, Iran has used cyber attacks

  • as an economic weapon in response to economic sanctions,

  • simply because the U.S. isn't likely

  • to try and defend itself through physical retribution.

  • - Point that our nation needs a comprehensive strategy

  • to deal with all areas, all areas, of Iran's aggression.

  • - Iran has absolutely been disruptive in the past

  • targeting American interests.

  • They engaged in relatively low-sophisticated attacks

  • several years ago,

  • targeting financial institutions with DDoS attacks,

  • essentially spam traffic being sent to their websites

  • in a way that intermittently took those sites down

  • so consumers in the U.S. were not able

  • to access their bank accounts.

  • Even a few minutes of those websites being down

  • or those services being inaccessible

  • can really impact the, not just national,

  • but global economy.

  • - [Cardinale] Ironically, one of the best defenses

  • to these sophisticated hacks is to have an analog backup

  • in case something goes haywire,

  • like having paper ballots that can be counted

  • to give people assurances

  • that their democracy is based off of real results.

  • - The most important thing that businesses can do

  • and individuals can do is make sure

  • that their security posture is as upgraded as possible.

  • This is the simple, routine, and boring art

  • of updating your iPhone,

  • updating your Windows operating system.

  • - [Cardinale] Wall Street Journal reporting found

  • that without regular cyber maintenance,

  • the U.S. is essentially a sitting duck

  • to unique attacks from hostile groups.

  • In 2016, a destructive virus called Shamoon 2

  • was reportedly executed by the Iranians.

  • It hit several organizations, mostly in Saudi Arabia.

  • That included Sadara, a joint venture between Dow Chemical

  • and Saudi Arabian oil.

  • According to experts,

  • Shamoon 2 wiped enormous amounts of data

  • and even prevented computers from turning back on.

  • That was evidence that the Iranians

  • could not only execute sophisticated attacks,

  • but were also willing to invest in custom attacks.

  • And what's more custom and nearly impossible to fight

  • than a propaganda attack?

  • According to Citizen Lab,

  • the Iranian information operation Endless Mayfly

  • created deceptive imitations of publications,

  • like Bloomberg and the Harvard Belfer Center,

  • as well as entirely fake personas.

  • The challenge here is it's almost impossible

  • for the U.S. to defend against these new

  • and increasingly popular attacks.

  • For now, the government's best bet

  • may be to work with social media publications

  • to try and take down what's recognized as propaganda

  • and hope that it's caused simply minimal damage.

  • - A term you'll hear a lot of experts use

  • when they're talking about cyber attacks

  • is asymmetrical warfare and this is the concept

  • that countries that lack traditional military might

  • make up for it through use of technology

  • and through the use of cyber attacks,

  • and Iran is certainly in that camp.

  • For Iran, this is the great equalizer.

  • This is their way of sending a message loud and clear

  • that we are here and we are upset with these sanctions,

  • we are upset with the U.S. foreign policy,

  • and we're going to make you hurt for it.

- The United States' economy is the most sophisticated

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Why the U.S. Is Vulnerable to an Iranian Cyberattack | WSJ

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    abc3455 posted on 2020/02/13
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