Digital Conflict

By Kevin Coleman

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Did Iran's military fall victim to a cyberattack?

There have been multiple reports that on Nov. 17 Iran conducted a massive air defense exercise. Iranian military sources reported that, during the exercise, six unidentified contacts appeared on their radar systems. These contacts were categorized as foreign aircraft that had intruded the airspace over the practice sites. They also concluded that the foreign contacts were hostile and there to engage the Iranian fighters. The Iranian aircraft were immediately told to engage the six foreign aircraft. The problem was when they got there all they found was empty airspace. The only conclusion is that the radar was wrong.

Interestingly enough, the next day a military spokesperson claimed a misunderstanding and there had been no aircraft intrusions. What about cyber intrusions? Did the Iranian radar systems fall victim to a cyberattack? Many believe this was another attack from a modified version of Stuxnet. That would explain what happened, but we may never know the real story.

There is more. Shortly after this incident, Majid Shahriari, Iran’s foremost authority on Stuxnet and the leader of the Iranian team established to combat Stuxnet, which continues disrupting Iran’s nuclear and military networks and systems, was killed when his car was physically attacked by small arms fire.

Posted by Kevin Coleman on Dec 07, 2010 at 12:12 PM


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