Harassed Stuxnet and Flame attacks against nuclear material processing centrifuges, Iranian armed forces have declared plans to establish their own cyber defense headquarters. Iran’s Deputy Chief of Staff in Mobilization Force and Defense Culture Affairs Brigadier Seyyed Mas’oud Jazayeri confirmed the news, stating:
“That headquarters would be commissioned to design and adopt comprehensive approaches in line with cultural onslaught of the enemies. Subordinate soft war centers at various levels of the armed forces, too, would be activated. The cultural departments of the armed forces have already launched vast scale programs to counter the psychological war of the enemies. The Islamic Republic of Iran has had noticeable growth in cyber field and parallel with that the country’s soft war capability has improved significantly.”
Iran is making these efforts not just to counter or respond to Stuxnet or Flame, but also to safeguard itself from any future attacks on critical infrastructure.
As the country cannot purchase Western antivirus technology, it is developing its own malware-catching technology. In addition to Stuxnet and Flame attacks, another example of assault is against Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), which caused ‘Thunderstruck’ to be blasted at high volumes from AEOI workstations. This is actually something more like what viruses used to do to people, while certainly there were malicious viruses in the 1990s, some of them just said or did funny things, like turning the computer volume all the way up and playing some obnoxious song.
I am writing you to inform you that our nuclear program has once again been compromised and attacked by a new worm with exploits which have shut down our automation network at Natanz and another facility Fordo near Qom.
According to the email our cyber experts sent to our teams, they believe a hacker tool Metasploit was used. The hackers had access to our VPN. The automation network and Siemens hardware were attacked and shut down. I only know very little about these cyber issues as I am scientist not a computer expert.
There was also some music playing randomly on several of the workstations during the middle of the night with the volume maxed out. I believe it was playing ‘Thunderstruck’ by AC/DC.
The need for the cyber defense originated when the United States and Israel collectively joined hands to create Internet-worm Stuxnet that infected Iranian nuclear material processing centrifuges and sabotaged Iran’s nuclear program. Besides, the origin of the dangerous espionage malware Flame was also traced back to the roots of Stuxnet. Security experts revealed that the creators of the Flame malware and the notorious Stuxnet worm likely collaborated with one another during their development, which points the finger of blame at the United States and Israeli governments.
Really, the era of state-sponsored cyberwarfare has started. When U.S. and Israel governments have already started acting proactively especially in an offensive mode, how can Iran stay behind. Of course, it will defend itself, and this might be the reason behind establishing the cyber defense headquarters by Iranian military.