President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the nuclear deal with Iran may escalate the risk of confrontation of another kind: in cyberspace. Former government officials and security experts say reinstating sanctions on the country could lead Tehran-backed hackers to retaliate against the West after several years of relative quiet
Michael Daniel, who was President Barack Obama’s White House cybersecurity coordinator, told the Washington Post Iran may have fewer qualms about using its cyber capabilities without the diplomatic agreement in place.
“Now that the level of enmity between the United States and Iran is going to only increase, that does free them to carry out cyber operations against the United States,” Daniel said.
As the United States and European countries previously imposed sanctions on Iran to further thwart its nuclear weapons ambitions, Iranian hackers responded with waves of direct denial of service attacks on U.S. financial institutions that crashed bank computer networks and caused millions of dollars in lost business between 2011 and 2013.
Tension subsided around the time that the Iran deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, was finalised in July 2015. The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a nonpartisan foreign policy think tank, noted in a report earlier this year that Iran’s disruptive attacks on the United States declined, and Iran turned its focus to Saudi Arabia and other regional adversaries in the Middle East.
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