The Trump Campaign is said to have been targeted by Iranian cyberattacks according to two anonymous sources who were said to be familiar with the operation. Reuters was the first who reported on the alleged cyber attacks. According to Microsoft, a possible cyber group working for Iran dubbed “Phosphorous” has been targeting email addresses and has tried to gain access to 241 accounts in its attempt to uncover new information. The attacks are said to have been targeting current and former senior U.S. officials, journalists, and Iranians living abroad.
With the great prominence of internet hacking and cyberattacks have become a national security concern worldwide in order to collect information of strategic importance and uncover the operations of domestic and foreign secret services. Nations large and small are spending more and more to increase their respective cyber capabilities.
Cyber offensive and defensive capabilities are important, but one must rest assured that it is only a matter of time before the secret’s of one nation is revealed to another.
One of the most known cyberattacks, Suxnet was actually launched against Iran by the United States around 2005 targeting the industrial control systems of Iran’s nuclear program affecting about 200,000 computers and as a result, degrading the performance of up to a thousand nuclear centrifuges.
In more recent news, many mainstream outlets have been writing about an emergence of a new cyber war between the United States and Iran with the aim of blinding radar and other targeting systems and using security holes in the target country’s infrastructure to install backdoors and other malicious software.
The reader may remember that this has come 2 days after Iran has downed and presented what looked like a U.S. drone and the cyberattack went down just before President Trump canceled a retaliatory strike against an Iranian base. The cyber struggle between Iran and the United States is now constant. According to U.S. officials, a cyber attack on June 20th against Iran has mainly resulted in network outages and has temporarily degraded Tehran’s ability to covertly target shipping traffic in the Persian Gulf.
On July 28th the NSA announced that it’s adopting an aggressive cybersecurity strategy against foreign nations which would also include pre-emptive cyberattacks and the creation of new cyber centers.
This recent attack against the Trump Campaign is perhaps most reminiscent of the Sony Pictures hack when in 2014 North Korea was accused of a cyberattack against Sony Pictures Entertainment by the Obama administration. The administration alleged that North Korea was “centrally involved” in the attack and stated that the attack is being treated as a “serious national security matter”.
Aside from that statements made by Microsoft there is not much to go on yet and because of the recent trend of hostile actions taken by the United States and Iran against each other in the near future we are surely going to see more real and alleged cyberattacks involving the two respective countries on one side or the other.