Every action has an opposite and equal reaction, according Isaac Newton's 'Third Law'. The Stuxnet cyber attack launched by the US and Israel against Iran's nuclear power infrastructure (and discovered in 2010) might well offer an example of Newton's Third Law in action.
—Ronald David Jackson
|Illustration by Daniel Rehn.|
Iran is building a non-nuclear threat faster than experts 'would have ever imagined'By Natasha Bertrand
In just over two years, the Iranian government has managed to build up a sophisticated cyberarmy that experts now say is capable of crippling key global infrastructure.
"Five years ago, I would have never imagined Iran to be where they are today," cybersecurity expert David Kennedy, founder of information security firm TrustedSec, told Business Insider. "Iran was once considered a D-grade cyber threat. Now it's almost on the same level as Russia or China."
Iran has increased its cybersecurity spending 12-fold since President Hassan Rouhani assumed office in 2013, according to a report released Monday by British technology research firm Small Media. Vowing to ramp up the country's cyber capabilities, Rouhani has given the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) an annual cybersecurity budget of roughly $19.8 million.
While Iran's initial cyber efforts were focused on countering internal dissidence, the government put its cyber experts on the offensive after an American computer worm, Stuxnet, infiltrated Iranian government servers and ruined almost one-fifth of the country's nuclear centrifuges in June 2010.
By November 2010, the Basij Cyber Council had trained 1,500 cyber-warriors who, according to IRGC commander Hossein Hamedani, "have assumed their duties and will in the future carry out many operations," according to a report released in 2013 by the Middle East Media Research Institute.
“Out of any country on the planet, I can’t think of a country that has been more focused than Iran from the high levels of government on cyber, and that includes the United States,” Dmitri Alperovitch, co-founder of cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike, told The Hill back in November.
And they'll only get better.
"In 10 years time, Iran's cyber capabilities will be more troubling than its nuclear program," geopolitical expert Ian Bremmer, president of the Eurasiaa group, tweeted earlier this week. He also noted that aggressive cyber operations by the US can be turned around on them by weaker adversaries.