Iranian Cyber-Jihadi Cells Plot Western Destruction

Monday, November 28, 2011

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According to an article in The Cutting Edge News by Wahied Wahdat-Hagh, a Senior Fellow at the European Foundation for Democracy in Brussels, Iranian "cyber-jihadists" are actively plotting disruptive cyber attacks against the United States and other Western nations.

Wahdat-Hagh reports that Iranian militants held the second annual conference to promote cyber-terrorism in Tehran last September which was attended by representatives from Iran's infamous Revolutionary Guard.

"Last September, Jihadists who call themselves 'Cyber-Hezbollah' organised their second conference in Teheran. Islamist hackers and cyber-jihadists gathered there and decided to fight the U.S. and Europe. Hassan Abbasi, political strategist and adviser of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, was present, and delivered an ardent and virulent speech," wrote Wahdat-Hagh.

Wahdat-Hagh asserts that statements made at the event confirm that there are organized cells located within targeted nations tasked with carrying out cyber-terrorism activities, though the revelations fell short of actually identifying the specific targets and tactics to be used against them.

“We have made many bilateral contacts with European students through our activities in the Committee of the Holy Defense Strategy in Europe. The experiences of students of the Islamic Revolution of Iran were shared with some European young people. This means that Islamic cells were founded in Europe and America," said Hojat Vahidi, head of the Committee of the Holy Defense Strategy in Europe, during the conference in Tehran.

Wahdat-Hagh warns that the rhetoric disseminated by the conference's organizers and attendees are merely thinly veiled threats that should be interpreted as nothing short of a cyberwarfare declaration by Iranian activists against their perceived Western adversaries.

"In other words, Cyber Jihadists intend to kill their enemies in hyperspace and in reality," Wahdat-Hagh said.

Presenters at the conference made it clear that cyberspace is a battlefront that should be utilized as part of a greater strategy to widen the conflict with Western Nations whose primary concern is thwarting Iran's nuclear weapons program.

"The first state to appropriate the strategy of asymmetric war itself was the Islamic Republic of Iran... Because in [cyberspace] one can destroy the laws that have been created by the security apparatus of the enemy, and one can attack their strategies," said Hassan Abbasi, head of the Tehran-based Doctrinal Analysis Center, during the conference.

Abbasi went on to reiterate the Iranian hard-line propaganda that Western powers were behind the September 11, 2001 attacks against the World Trade Center towers in New York, and to expect a similar event to be carried out in cyberspace in an effort to create a false-flag event as a precursor to military action against the Iranian state.

"This time, the U.S. will conduct an attack against itself in hyperspace, following the example of September 11th," Abbasi said.

In March of this year, it was reported that Iran was actively recruiting computer savvy soldiers in a effort to strengthen the nation's cyber defensive and offensive capabilities, and that the initiative was thought to be in response to the Stuxnet virus attacks.

Stuxnet is a highly sophisticated designer-virus that wreaks havoc with SCADA systems which provide operations control for critical infrastructure and production networks, and the initial attacks are thought to have caused severe damage to Iranian uranium enrichment facilities, setting back the nation's nuclear weapons program by as much as several years.

“There are many true believers in Iran who are highly educated and very savvy with computers. Cyberwarfare is cheap, effective and doesn’t necessarily cause fatalities. It makes much more sense for not-so-wealthy nation states to build up cyber warfare capability rather than investing in missiles and warships,” said Reza Kahlili, a former member of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard.

Though experts agree that Iran does not have the ability to produce anything similar to a Stuxnet-level virus that would pose a threat to Western SCADA systems, some warn that it is only a matter of time before sophisticated cyber offensive capabilities become widespread.

“The worst news about cyber-warfare is that the proliferation of cyber weapons cannot be controlled. We will see a learning curve in the same way we saw it with conventional malware. Sooner or later, sophisticated cyber weapons will not only be in the hands of intelligence services and military units, but also in the hands of terrorists and organized crime. There is no way this can be prevented," said security expert Ralph Langner who first analyzed the Stuxnet virus.

Source:  http://www.thecuttingedgenews.com/index.php?article=53212&pageid=20&pagename=Security

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