Security expert: Friendly countries can help Iran to create a cyber army

Posted on February 27, 2012


Iran is unlikely to look for Western support in establishing its own cyber army, founder of WAF Enterprises, former Director of Emerging Security Technologies at IBM mobile, Amrit Williams said.

Williams added that there are plenty of qualified security professionals in friendlier countries to Iran, such as Russia, China, or Brazil.

The expert was commenting on recent news about Iran announcing plans to create country’s first cyber army following the successful launch of the cyber defense headquarters.

Iran’s Brigadier General Gholamreza Jalali said a few days ago that Iran is one of the countries that has been extensively targeted by cyber attacks for the past two years, and therefore the cyber defense headquarters must be upgraded.

For the past couple of years, Iran has been targeted by Stuxnet and Duqu viruses. Iran claimed that country’s network grid managed to withstand the attacks, however a lot of computers in the country, mainly the industrial ones, were infected or damaged.

Iran announced about revealing and successful reflection of a cyber-attack of Stuxnet computer worm in October last year, which was supposedly created to infect computer systems of the Iranian nuclear industry.

Stuxnet virus, first revealed in Iran in June 2010, is a program designed to infect computers using the automated supervisory control and data acquisition system (SCADA). The reports said Iran’s Bushehr nuclear power plant was at the center of the cyber attack.

Williams believes that the effectiveness of a “cyber army” is completely dependent on the skills and experiences of those that will define, develop, and execute the program.

“There is no doubt that we are entering a new world, where digital assets will become both casualties and weapons in current and future conflicts,” Williams noted. “Any country that needs to maintain its sovereignty needs to focus on digital assets as well as traditional warfare tactics”.

The expert added that a challenge with developing a cyber-army is a lack of qualified personnel to staff, train, manage, and evolve the programs, a challenge that is offset by countries that invest heavily in an educational system that stresses the sciences and math.

Williams underscored that reaching to external parties for help has its disadvantages.

“The programs external parties help to develop can contain backdoors, and other digital triggers that lessen their effectiveness or worse, a ‘trojan-horse’ situation where a foreign entity now has remote control of a segment of their infrastructure,” he explained.

Considering Iran’s distrustfulness and increased security measures, it is safe to say that the country will rely on its own powers in establishing a cyber army, as well as training their own specialists without any foreign help.