Ex-NSA chief: Iran-U.S. cyber wars means hacking attacks to increase

“We see cyber, which has been an ongoing part of daily competition between states, will be part of the conflict between nations.”

June 25, 2019 10:12
1 minute read.
Iranian flag and cyber code [Illustrative]

Iranian flag and cyber code [Illustrative]. (photo credit: PIXABAY)


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Iran and the US cyber attacks on each other in the midst of the nuclear standoff show that hacking attacks between countries in conflict will be on the rise, former US National Security Agency and Cyber Command chief Mike Rogers said Tuesday.

Speaking from the Cyber Week conference at Tel Aviv University, Rogers said that following Iran shooting down a US drone at the end of last week, “We see cyber, which has been an ongoing part of daily competition between states, will be part of the conflict between nations.”

“The US and Iran both viewed cyber as a potent response option that offered lower risk than a kinetic or military strike. So we will see more of this. It is less escalatory. It sends a message, but does not necessarily trigger a response from the other side,” said the former top US intelligence and cyber official.

Continuing, he said, “Look at the targets they went after – the US used cyber to respond against military targets [of Iran]. Iran chooses the cyber response option to go not only after US government entities, but also entities in the private sector.”

“In the West, we have drawn a line between the government and commercial sectors. Another takeaway is that I am not sure every nation in the world recognizes those same lines,” he said.

Rogers appeared to suggest that though experts have worried cyber could be used as a an Armageddon-style weapon to destroy whole economic and infrastructure sectors, that it is currently being used conservatively, such as in the ongoing US-Iran nuclear standoff. 

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