Days after Defense Secretary Leon Panetta warned of a “cyber-Pearl Harbor,” other American officials and experts are acknowledging the likelihood that Iran’s military was already responsible for digital attacks on American financial institutions and the Saudi Arabian oil industry, according to a report in The New York Times.
Of course, there is no proof that the attacks were ordered by the Iranian government but the article notes the country’s motives for retaliating against U.S. and Israeli cyberattacks that impacted their nuclear enrichment plant in Natanz. Crippling economic sanctions against Iran were also listed as a possible motive.
In his first cyber policy speech Thursday, Panetta outlined the global threats facing the U.S. but also said America has the resources to locate aggressors and hold them accountable.
A senior defense official, speaking to Stars and Stripes reporter Chris Carroll on condition of anonymity, elaborated: “Conventional wisdom about cyberspace right now is that it’s impossible to attribute attacks to any specific individual or nation state, [but] we have invested a lot in the [Defense] Department in developing that capability,” said the official. “And it has improved tremendously.”
The attack against U.S. finance institutions prevented some bank customers from accessing their accounts, and Panetta called the virus that hit the world’s largest oil company, Saudi Aramco, “probably the most destructive attack that the private sector has seen to date,” according to the Times article.
Source: The New York Times