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Iran threatens US and UK with cyber-retaliation

More cyber-rhetoric

Iran has threatened cyber-retaliation against its three most-cited enemies, the US, the UK and Israel, according to Iranian news agency, Ahlul Bayt.

The agency quoted Armed Forces Brigadier-General Ali Shadmani as stating that, "any cyber attack against Tehran would be risky for the US and its allies."

The report did not explain how such retaliation might be carried out nor what the retaliation would be for, but it comes in the week that Iranian nuclear ally Russia again blamed the Stuxnet worm that attacked SCADA industrial systems on Israel and the US.

Such anti-western rhetoric is not uncommon and is usually assumed by observers of the country to be mainly for internal consumption. What is perhaps new is that cyberspace has been added to the list official zones of conflict in the eyes of the Iranian political elite.

Tellingly, the news story also claimed that "anti-revolutionary terrorist organizations" including the Kurdish Party of Free Life for Kurdistan (PJAK) and Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK) were sponsored by the US, UK and Israel to attack Iran despite the US having taken a position against separatist Kurdish groups in recent times.

Most of Iran's known cyber-activity takes the form of trying to control its own dissidents for whom the Internet is a major leveller. This might explain the theft of SSL certificates from security vendor Comodo earlier this year security experts have speculated because it would allow for improved surveillance of communications.

The country also hosts the hacking group, the Iran Cyber Army, which attacks western websites for publicity, apparently of its own volition. Few believe that its activity is not connected to Iran's Government, however.

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