Saturday, May 23
Latest News
  1. UN: Iranian aid cargo boat for Yemen offloaded in Djibouti
  2. Commanders: Iraq forces attack IS east of Ramadi
  3. Leading 'No' figure concedes in Irish gay marriage vote
  4. Saudi-led coalition pounds Yemen rebels in three cities
  5. Police: 3 killed by two grenades in Burundi capital
  6. Official: 39 dead in Mexico clash between police, armed civilians
  7. US Senate approves fast-track trade authority for Obama
  8. Senate blocks bill that would end US bulk data dragnet
  9. Official: Turkey arrests French citizen bound for Syria
  10. Priest 'kidnapped in Homs' region of Syria
  11. Saudi-led coalition pounds Yemen rebels in three cities
  12. Over 55,000 have fled IS-captured Ramadi since mid-May
  13. President: death toll in anti-FARC air strike in Colombia rises to 26
  14. Dutch cabinet backs partial Islamic burqa ban
  15. Iran: Nuclear talks to resume Tuesday in Vienna
  16. UK's Cameron says 'confident' of securing EU reform deal
  17. Huge blasts outside Sanaa after coalition air raids
  18. Monitor: Rebels seize hospital holding 150 Syrian soldiers
  19. Blast hits Shiite mosque in eastern Saudi
  20. US envoy urges Myanmar Rohingya 'citizenship' to end exodus

US general: Iran strengthened cyber capabilities after Stuxnet

Jan. 18, 2013 9:35 P.M. (Updated: Jan. 18, 2013 5:39 P.M.)
By: Andrea Shalal-Esa
WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- Iran responded to a 2010 cyber attack on its nuclear facilities by beefing up its own cyber capabilities, and will be a "force to be reckoned with" in the future, a senior US Air Force official told reporters on Thursday.

General William Shelton, who heads Air Force Space Command and oversees the Air Force's cyber operations, declined to comment about Iran's ability to disrupt US government computer networks, but said Tehran had clearly increased its efforts in that arena after the 2010 incident.

While no government has taken responsibility for the Stuxnet computer virus that destroyed centrifuges at Iran's Natanz uranium enrichment facility, it was widely reported to have been a US-Israeli project.

Western analysts say Iran has launched increasingly sophisticated cyber attacks in a growing confrontation with its adversaries, including the United States, Israel and Gulf Arabs, at a time of rising pressure on Tehran to curb its nuclear program.

Iran denies Western accusations it is seeking to develop a nuclear weapons capability, and says its program is aimed only at power generation and medical research.

This week, a senior Iranian commander was quoted as saying that the Islamic Republic could disrupt enemy communication systems as part of its growing "electronic warfare" capabilities.

Iranian officials have denied hacking into US banks in recent months, but have devoted resources to building up their cyber defense capabilities after suffering a string of cyber attacks in the past year targeting industrial sites, an oil export terminal and oil platforms.

"The Iranian situation is difficult to talk about," Shelton told reporters. "It's clear that the Natanz situation generated reaction by them. They are going to be a force to be reckoned with, with the potential capabilities that they will develop over the years and the potential threat that will represent to the United States."

Shelton said the Air Force expected orders in coming months to expand its cyber workforce of about 6,000 by 1,000 people. He said he was pressing Air Force leaders to boost funding for cyber operations, but added there were competing demands and the budget outlook remained uncertain.

He said the Air Force was repelling nearly 100 percent of the millions of probes launched against Pentagon networks every day, but it was also using cyber tools to substitute for clandestine human intelligence-gathering efforts and expanding its offensive cyber capabilities.

"There are things that you can get from a computer network that in the past were very hard to collect and had to be done through human sources," he said. "It has become ... a darned-near substitute for human intelligence activity."

With what he called access to the "right networks" and the "right code," Shelton said the US military would also be able to cause physical damage without using a bomb or missile.
Powered By: HTD Technologies
Ma'an News Agency
All rights reserved © 2005-2015