A cyber-attack is a type of aggressive operation, which targets computer systems, infrastructures, computerized networks, or personal computer devices. The cyber attackers aim to access data, functions, or other important areas of the hacked system illegally. A cyber-attack can be carried out by an individual person, group of people, a country or some terrorist organizations as well.
Before discussing the Iranian Cyber-attack, it is important to know the event that shaped the probabilities of Iranian cyber-attack to a serious extent. On 3rd January 2020, The United States killed Iran’s military general Qassim Suleimani. Shocked by the death of their beloved General, the Middle East declared payback for the murder.
Although the internet broke the news that world war-III was about to take place, but soon it started to speculate that the matter would not turn into a physical battle, rather would turn into a cyber-one which too is as serious as a physical attack. Jon Bateman, a fellow of cyber security for International peace said that a cyber-attack is expected in vengeance for Suleimani’s murder.
The next day, the United States’ department of homeland security in a bulletin warned Iran that the nation is capable of carrying out its own attack supported by a robust cyber program. When experts came to know about these warnings, they seemed to believe that the Iranian cyber-attack was impending.
Sergio Caltagirone, Vice President of Threat Intelligence said that when countries use cyber-attacks, a lot of the time the attacks are against civilian targets rather than military targets. He also said that, it looks like civilians and innocent people all around the world, including Iranians, Americans, and Saudis, will have to bear the effect of these attacks. Similarly, if Iran initiates a cyber-attack against the United States, the local residents of both the countries would suffer.
Iran and the United States have already been engaged in a cyber war for many years. The U.S has been blamed for using computers and computer viruses to disturb nuclear facilities and infrastructure in Iran. Iran was also held responsible for the 2018 cyber-attack that badly affected the government and residents of Atlanta. Chances are that this time Iran might hack the American Water system and power networks.
The one and only benefit of a cyber-attack over a physical battle is that it is generally anonymous. This means that a country can attack their enemies without letting them know who is responsible for all the damage.
To conclude, it can be said that the news of the assassination of Suleimani shocked many people, and will result in retaliations. The daughter of General Qassim Suleimani, Zeinab Suleimani, directly threatened the U.S. military by saying that “…the families of the American soldiers in western Asia… the west will spend their days waiting for the death of their children…”