Original story published at Washington Post
Insiders in the US government discussed Trump’s approval of electronic operations against the Iranian Revolutionary Guard recently. The new policy of “defending forward” are implementing policies directed by Trump to bring battles to adversaries’ virtual infrastructure.
Thomas Bossert, former White House cybersecurity official, explained the actions as defending US interests in keeping the Strait of Hormuz open for trade among allied nations. He asserts this is what the US Navy must do to “defend” itself at sea in the Gulf area.
Will opposing nations’ cyber activity release the pressure valve which historically lead to physical conflict? So far recently history has suggested cyber operations may allow for nations to quench the thirst for bloodshed through a different medium, invisible to the eye and the population’s day-to-day activities in all but the most aggressive cyber operations.
Expect cyber warfare activity to increase in the near future among the US and Iran. Israel also has a major stake in this conflict and is likely to engage in their own operations if not work directly with US intelligence to counter the threats they see in the Iranian state.
This conflict may temporarily decrease attacks from Iran against neighboring Gulf states as the Iranian apparatus focuses their energy on the most direct threat. The past few months have seen massive doxxing/leaks of purported APT34/OilRig activity, targeting the broader Middle East government and business entities, proving Iranians have upped their game significantly since the Shamoon v1 days of 2012.