Iran is planning to retaliate against the United States for the sabotage against its nuclear program, according to an editorial in the Kayhan newspaper, the mouthpiece of Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
The U.S. has all of its infrastructure connected to the Internet, the editorial says, and as a result, “it is constantly worried about an unknown player, who they will never be able to identify … sitting in some corner of the world who would launch an attack on a sector of (the Americans’) foundations. They will be taught the mother of all lessons.”
Specifically, Iran is looking into launching a cyber attack against U.S. electrical grid systems.
Iranian officials are furious over the July 23 assassination of nuclear scientist Dariush Rezai-Nejad, who was working on electric detonators for the Iranian nuclear program, which can be used on missiles or nuclear bombs. He was the third Iranian nuclear scientist assassinated since 2009.
The frustration over acts of sabotage started with the computer virus Stuxnet in which 1,000 of Iran’s centrifuges at the Natanzs nuclear facility were destroyed and had to be replaced. The virus also attacked the Bushehr nuclear power plant, which has resulted in repeated delays in it joining the country’s power grid.
The July 29 Kayhan editorial threatening America with retaliation said that during the last month, the United States has published two strategy documents regarding cyberspace, both of which emphasize the ever-evolving nature of Internet communications.
The first document, signed by President Obama, lays out the country’s strategy on cyberspace, states that the Internet epitomizes great opportunity and says it is not viewed as a threat to the United States, the editorial says. It adds that “it can be suggested that the U.S. can play a leadership role in cyberspace in that the U.S. would create and maintain that position for the long term.”
But then the editorial takes direct aim at Washington: “The second document is brimming with the over-confidence and hyper-intellectual posturing of the first. These documents, which the Pentagon published two weeks ago, use straight-forward war vernacular and (the Pentagon) has openly announced that from here on in, cyberspace will be considered a war zone.
“The laughable part of this document is when the neurotic American generals threaten hackers sitting behind their computers who attack America (that they) should be careful that a cruise missile does not fly in through their heating pipes to destroy their turf.”
The United States is no longer the unequivocal leader of the Internet, the editorial says. “Diverse and interesting players have now come on the scene and have … managed to inflict some costly and unprecedented damages on the American Internet infrastructure. … Due to the convenient global nature of the ‘players,’ their network operates outside time and space. They can be anywhere from right under Mr. Obama’s ear in Washington, D.C., to the depths of the African desert.”
The editorial accuses the Americans, with the help of Israelis and Germans, of creating the Stuxnet virus to attack the Iranian nuclear enrichment facilities.
“Americans are under the (mistaken) impression that they are the only ones who can strike violent blows against their most ardent opponents and not sustain any real damage,” the editorial warns.
Earlier this year Iranian officials announced that Iran’s cyber war campaign would be activated under the Passive Defense Organization of Iran, which openly recruited hackers who would support the goals and ideals of the radicals ruling Iran. Also as reported earlier, in a recent meeting among Iran’s Revolutionary Guard commanders and Iranian scientists, America’s vulnerabilities for a cyber attack were discussed. They concluded that the U.S. power grids represent the best opportunity for such attacks, as more U.S. utilities are moving their control systems to the Internet and using smart-grid technology.
According to reports from the U.S. Department of Energy, America’s power grid remains vulnerable to cyber attack, a result of slow implementation of computer security standards. A successful cyber attack on the North American power grid systems could disrupt the economy and possibly create a national trauma.