Stuxnet helped heat up cyberarms race

NBC News reports: Cybersecurity experts tell NBC News that the [Stuxnet] attack may not have done as much damage to the Iranian nuclear effort — which Tehran insists is geared toward developing nuclear energy, not weapons — as was initially reported in some media accounts.

And it has raised the stakes in the race to create online weaponry.

Iranian Ambassador Hossein Moussavian, in a Feb. 21 appearance at the Center for National Security at Fordham Law School, said the attack prompted Tehran to make development of its own cyberwar capability a priority.

“The U.S., or Israel, or the Europeans, or all of them together, started war against Iran,” he said. “Iran decided to have…to establish a cyberarmy, and today, after four or five years, Iran has one of the most powerful cyberarmies in the world.”

Scott Borg, a U.S.-based cybersecurity expert, said that while Iran may be exaggerating its offensive capabilities, there is no doubt that it has developed a “serious capability” to wage cyberwar.

“It’s exaggerating the present capabilities,” he said, “but it’s working toward the future.”

As an example, Borg and U.S. officials note that when the U.S. leveled new sanctions on Iranian banks last year, U.S. banks suddenly came under attack – apparently from Iran itself or its hired proxies.

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