Cyber Espionage Just Got A lot More Serious

By Kevin Coleman – DefenseTech Cyber Warfare Correspondent

Iran has been the target for lots of media attention over the Stuxnet worm.  Information is leaking out about other cyber incidents that are being blamed on the same or similar Stuxnet cyber weapon.  One such incident involved phantom radar images appearing during a Iranian military training exercise.  Now information is circulating that assassinated Iranian physicist, Majid Shahriari was actually Iran's foremost authority on Stuxnet and the leader of Iran's Stuxnet investigation and defense team. Shahriari was killed when his car was attacked by men on motorbikes last month. Fellow Iranian nuclear scientist Fereydoon Abbasi was injured in a similar attack style the same day Shahriari was killed. Most reports say that an explosive was attached to their vehicles. Some are now saying that at least one car was shot up by the assailants. Looking at photos of one of the vehicles, you can see no evidence of an explosion, but multiple bullet holes are clearly visible.  Most notable are a few bullet holes at head height in the windshield on the driver's side.

We have long talked about convergence of cyber espionage, cyber attacks and cyber terrorism with the traditional world of espionage and now it is evident. Intelligence sources say that Iran has intensified its investigative efforts into this incident. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has made accusations that "Western governments" and Israel of being behind the killing. Was Shahriari getting close to uncovering / disclosing where the code came from or who was behind the attack (an incredibly difficult task given the nature of cyberwarfare)?  We may never know.

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