Iran Is Quickly Becoming a Significant Cybersecurity Threat

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  •  Apr 21, 2015
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Attacks launched from Iranian-controlled IP addresses increased 128 percent between January 2014 and mid-March 2015

A new report provides overwhelming evidence that cybersecurity attacks emanating from Iran and targeting U.S., Europe and Western interests are increasing at an alarming rate. The report, co-authored by the American Enterprise Institute’s Critical Threats Project and Norse Corporation, provides direct evidence of the rapid increase in recent Iranian cyber-attacks.

These types of attacks pose critical threats to governments, banks, businesses and private citizens around the globe, especially in the U.S.

Among the key findings is that Iran is actually using computing resources from Western hosting and cloud-computing companies to carry out attacks against Western targets. In addition, the report details evidence of Iranian involvement in the following:

  • Cyber-attacks directly initiated from networks belonging to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.
  • The establishment of a cyber-attack infrastructure outside Iran, possibly in violation of international sanctions, which is used for attacks against Western companies.
  • Attacks on servers outside Iran to gain control of third-party systems that could be used in future Iranian cyber-attacks. This would make it very difficult to trace the attacks back to Iran.
  • Collaboration between the Iranian regime and Iranian civilian hackers who have a history of attacking Western computing assets.

Attacks launched from Iranian-controlled IP addresses increased 128 percent between January 2014 and mid-March 2015, and individual Norse sensors hit by Iranian IP addresses rose 229 percent. Over the same period, the number of systems compromised by Iranian interests increased by 508 percent.


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