The Iranian Cyber Offensive during Operation Protective Edge

INSS Insight No. 598, August 26, 2014
Gabi Siboni , Sami Kronenfeld
 Although the IDF’s abilities to handle the rocket and attack tunnel threats have garnered most of the attention during the latest campaign in the Gaza Strip, it is now clear that Israel was also forced to confront cyber challenges during Operation Protective Edge. A senior officer in the C4I Corps noted that in the course of the campaign Iranian elements launched a widespread cyber offensive against Israeli targets, including attempts to damage security and financial networks. While these attempts were neutralized relatively easily and quickly by Israeli cyber defenses, it seems that Iran is investing heavily in the development of effective offensive capabilities against infrastructure systems, and might present a serious challenge to Israeli defenses within the foreseeable future. In 2013, a series of attacks on the websites of major US banks and financial institutions was attributed to Iran. An information security expert described these attacks, which included sophisticated techniques and demonstrated an ability to act in significant scope against high quality targets, as unprecedented in degree and effectiveness.

Image Bank/Getty Images

Attacks on a nation’s financial infrastructures have serious repercussions, liable to result in heavy financial damage as they disrupt routine financial activity of commercial enterprises and households alike. However, the focus of the cyber offensive during Operation Protective Edge was the civilian internet. Iranian elements participated in what the C4I officer described as an attack unprecedented in its proportions and the quality of its targets. The attack targeted IDF websites such as the Home Front Command and the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit, as well as civilian internet infrastructures. The attackers had some success when they managed to spread a false message via the IDF’s official Twitter account saying that the Dimona nuclear reactor had been hit by rocket fire and that there was a risk of a radioactive leak. Some of the attacks against Israel were attributed to the Syrian Electronic Army (SEA), a group of Assad-supporting hackers that in recent years has developed significant attack capabilities and described by Michael Hayden, former Director of the CIA and the NSA, as a veritable Iranian proxy. Continue reading

Azerbaijan to transfer Iranian prisoners to Iran soon

Baku, March 19, IRNA – Based on coordination between Iranian embassy in Azerbaijan and the Azeri government, a number of Iranian nationals imprisoned in Azerbaijani jails will be transferred to Iran soon, said an official with Iranˈs embassy in Baku on Wednesday.

Mohsen Molaee told IRNA that he had visited prison number 11 of Azerbaijan Republic today and met with Iranian prisoners.Heavy costs of traveling to Azerbaijan for the prisonersˈ families who want to visit them and also heavy costs of living for the prisoners themselves were their major concerns, Molaee said.

The prisonersˈ main demand was to serve the rest of their prison sentences in Iran, Molaee added.He said he had distributed some food and cash among Iranian prisoners during his visit. Continue reading

Iran’s assets in Canada include more than $2.6-million held in 13 different bank accounts, Ottawa reveals

Stewart Bell | 13/09/09 | Last Updated: 13/09/10 1:36 AM ET
More from Stewart Bell | @StewartBellNP

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Wayne Cuddington / Ottawa CitizenThe Embassy of Iran on Metcalfe St. in Ottawa after Foreign Minister John Baird announced, diplomatic relations between Canada and Iran have been suspended.

Iran’s assets in Canada

Non-Diplomatic Assets

Iranian Cultural Centre, 2 Robinson Ave., Ottawa

Parking spot, 36A-570 Laurier Ave., W, Ottawa

RBC account 8649493, Higher Education Advisory

Scotia Bank account 40006-04451-18, Higher Education Advisory, $1.9-million

RBC account 00006-1029586, $203,000

RBC account 8649589, €333,000

RBC account 108-99-45

RBC account 108-99-52

RBC account 864-95-89

RBC account 864-95-74

Scotia Bank account 04654-10

Scotia Bank account GIC 17465324

Scotia Bank Visa account

CIBC Trust account 48 06816

CIBC Trust account 48 06719

BMO account 1051 017

Supreme Court of B.C., File S071189 $325,000 (This is a judgment awarded to the Iranian shipping lines. The money is frozen under UN sanctions)

Diplomatic Assets

Embassy of Iran, 245 Metcalfe St., Ottawa

Official residence, 524 Acadia Ave., Ottawa

Staff quarters, 1202-570 Laurier Ave. W, Ottawa

RBC account 00006-1089978

Scotia Bank account 400060030112

The federal government has identified millions of dollars worth of Iranian state assets in Canada, ranging from bank accounts to a parking spot, that may now be claimed by victims of terrorist groups sponsored by the Islamic republic.

The list of Iran’s 22 Canadian assets was to be released by the Department of Foreign Affairs on Tuesday to help victims who want to collect damages from Iran due to the regime’s support for terrorist groups such as Hezbollah and Hamas.

A copy of the list obtained in advance by the National Post includes the Iranian Cultural Centre in Ottawa, a parking spot in the capital, 13 bank accounts containing more than $2.6-million, a VISA account and $325,000 currently frozen under United Nations sanctions. Continue reading

Iran News Round Up September 11, 2013

English: Location of Iran and Saudi Arabia.

English: Location of Iran and Saudi Arabia. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A selection of the latest news stories and editorials published in Iranian news outlets, compiled by AEI Critical Threats Project Iran Analyst Will Fulton and Iran Intern Amir Toumaj. To receive this daily newsletter, please subscribe online.

(E) = Article in English

Excerpts of these translations may only be used with the expressed consent of the authors.

Politics

  • Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei reacted to recent Syria developments:
    • “We hope America’s new position regarding Syria is serious, without deception and a true reversal from their arbitrary and mistaken position of the past few weeks.”
    • “Unfortunately, with an incorrect interpretation of not fighting during Hajj [season], some mistaken [individuals] are attempting to undermine the philosophy of establishing the bara’at az moshrekin [Interpretation of Qur’an referring to political activities that take place socially during Hajj pilgrimage], though fighting blasphemy is one of Islam’s most fundamental orders.”
    • “Enemies of Islamic society have noticed that conflict within Islamic sects is to the benefit of the usurping Zionist regime. On this basis, by establishing takfiri groups from one side and creating Islamic and even Shi’a looking media to expand divisions from another, they are seeking to make Muslims fight each other.”
    • “Shi’a elders, including Imam [Khomeini] and others, continuously emphasized Islamic society’s unity. Therefore, the Shi’ism that propagates from media in London and America with the goal of expanding conflicts is not in the path of true Shi’a.” Continue reading

Iran News Round Up September 10, 2013

The Strait of Hormuz.

The Strait of Hormuz. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A selection of the latest news stories and editorials published in Iranian news outlets, compiled by AEI Critical Threats Project Iran Analyst Will Fulton and Iran Intern Amir Toumaj. (E) = Article in English

Excerpts of these translations may only be used with the expressed consent of the authors.

Politics

  • Addressing the 21st Friday Prayer Leaders Assembly, President Hassan Rouhani announced that it is possible for future nuclear negotiations to take place in New York City and said, “If the West’s language is the language of rationality and reason, the administration is completely ready to talk with the language of wisdom and moderation.” He added that Iran stands with Syria and will provide food and medical supply in case of war.
  • National Security and Foreign Policy Parliamentary [NSFP] Commission Chairman MP Alaeddin Boroujerdi discussed the closure of the Strait of Hormuz, and Lebanese Hezbollah and Russia’s potential responses to an American strike on Syria:
    • “The Russians have practically lost their bases in the region and the only point that this country has in the Middle East is Syria. On this basis, the Russians will not repeat their past mistakes and will not allow their ally in the region to be captured by the Americans. This is my prediction of Russia’s reaction, which will be different than during the West’s attack on Libya.”

Continue reading

Parallels of History: "the end of war is nigh"

Monday, November 26, 2012

clip_image002While Syria slaughters its own people and Cairo burns yet again, idealism reveals again, that war is to be left in the dustbins of history.  Similar predictions were made in 1909, just 4 years before the first World War, and in the 1930’s by Neville Chamberlain, on the eve of the Second World War.  In the 90’s, Clinton slashed our military with the idealism that the world would be a safer place.  It ignored the rising attacks by Islamist Terrorists and declarations of war by al-Qaeda, in hopes it would just go away.  It claimed terrorism was a law enforcement problem, and should be tried in court, rather than prosecuted by militaries.

Zero Ponsdorf of This Ain’t Hell points out the latest prediction of the impending future world of peace.  And some blame the realism of Veterans, of the fact that Sovereign Nations maintain standing Armies for self-defense, that wars continue.  Evidently, some believe that if Nations will just give up the means to defend themselves, then dictatorships will stop trying to take over their land and people.

Meanwhile, in the real world, the Communist Central Party of China has selected their new set of leaders, without ANY input from their Chinese subjects and are publishing new passports with maps of claiming the territory of several Pacific Nations, from the Philipines, to India, to Korea, to Japan, and of course Taiwan.

clip_image004Communist China has been using the profits of the lead coated toys it sells to our kids, to buy modern battleships, aircraft carriers, and troop transports.  It has taken over from the Soviets in stealing our technology, for such things as the Stealth Fighter which the Obama Administration decided was unneeded for our own military.  It has doubled its military spending in the last decade, and continues to increase it by double digits.  And now, it is making claims on the islands of the Pacifics in a manner reminiscent of 1930’s Japan.  The one thing that has contained China’s military threat for decades is being erased: its inability to project the power of its 4.5 Million man Military.

Continue reading

Comment: Who authored computer virus that ‘dwarfs Stuxnet’?

June 6, 2012 by Joseph Fitsanakis

clip_image001By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
When the Stuxnet computer virus was detected, in 2010, it was recognized as the most sophisticated malware ever created. It had been specifically designed to sabotage Siemens industrial software systems, which were used in Iran’s nuclear energy program. Not surprisingly, most Stuxnet-infected computers were in Iran. Now a new, massive and extremely sophisticated piece of malware has been detected in computers belonging to the Iranian National Oil Company and Iran’s Ministry of Petroleum. It is called Flame and, according to antivirus company Kaspersky Lab, which first spotted the virus last week, it is “one of the most complex threats ever discovered”. Simply consider that Stuxnet, which caused unprecedented waves of panic among Iranian cybersecurity experts, was 500 kilobytes in size. Flame is over 20 megabytes in size, consisting of 650,000 lines of code; it is so complex that it is expected to take programming analysts around a decade to fully comprehend. The two are different, of course. Stuxnet was an infrastructure-sabotaging malware, which destroyed hundreds —maybe even thousands—of Iranian nuclear centrifuges. Flame, on the other hand, appears to be an espionage tool: it aims to surreptitiously collect information from infected systems. What connects them is their intended target: Iran. We now have Stuxnet, the most complex sabotaging malware ever discovered, which must have taken dozens of programmers several months to create, and Flame, the world’s most powerful cyberespionage tool ever detected by computer security experts. And both have been primarily directed at Iranian government computers.

Continue reading