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Security Companies Accused of Exaggerating Iran's Cyberthreats Against the US 37

An anonymous reader writes: A widely-read report accusing Iran of hundreds of thousands of cyberattacks against the U.S. is being criticized as hugely inaccurate as well as motivated by marketing and politics, according to a new whitepaper and critics around the security industry. The original report, solicited by a conservative think tank and published by Norse in the lead up to the RSA Security Conference, hit the front page of the New York Times by calling handshakes and network scans "sophisticated cyberattacks."
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Security Companies Accused of Exaggerating Iran's Cyberthreats Against the US

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  • by BlindRobin ( 768267 ) on Thursday April 23, 2015 @05:36AM (#49534971)

    It's called marketing... Geeez

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Worse than that. Exaggeration is most of what the computer security industry consists of. It's filled with s'kiddies bored to tears of the tedium of their existence, calling themselves "hackers" to nicen up the blogposts detailing with loving care all the tiny aspects of something new-ish that lightened up their day.

      Hollywood didn't help, nor did journos barely understanding what they were supposed to be reporting on. And now governments got involved, so government money is up for grabs. You wouldn't believ

    • Re: (Score:2, Offtopic)

      by shione ( 666388 )

      ....or propaganda to show Iran in a bad light.

      • by gtall ( 79522 )

        Propaganda? By companies against Iran? I give up, why would they do that? They're worried about Iran's cybersecurity companies' prowess?

      • by dcw3 ( 649211 )

        Yeah, because Iran is working on nukes for energy purposes, and sending it's navy to Yemen for humanitarian aide. I'm sure it's all propaganda.

        • by mvdwege ( 243851 )

          Iran's actions with regards Yemen are purely regional politics, nothing to do with any threats they may pose towards the West. Funny as it may seem, people and nations sometimes have multiple motivations to act.

          In case of Yemen, it is a matter of Saudi-Arabia, Iran's most prominent opponent in the region, flexing its muscles against mostly Shia militias in Yemen. Iran seeing itself as the voice of the Shia minority in the ME, it is no surprise it should intervene.

    • you had me at "exaggerating"

  • by GrumpySteen ( 1250194 ) on Thursday April 23, 2015 @05:47AM (#49534997)

    Candidates are being announced for the primaries and the conservative party needs a big bad strawman to wave around and claim that the current government is ignoring in order to rally their supporters.

  • Must have been one lousy DDOS attack, one hundred thousand hits. Cyberattacks. According to the US law each and every computer generated hit is a crime and will be prosecuted to the most aggressive interpretation of the law.

  • Once they where the bogeyman.

  • Not surprised (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dkatana ( 2761029 ) on Thursday April 23, 2015 @06:34AM (#49535091)
    Not only security companies, but also the US government. There is a clear interest to make sure the new Cybersecurity bill will not be stopped in Congress, and they'll do anything to make it happen. Same as with the NSA massive spying they want strong laws protecting their ability to control anyone, anywhere.
  • by nimbius ( 983462 ) on Thursday April 23, 2015 @08:12AM (#49535407) Homepage
    If you think Irans "cyber" threat is exaggerated, try their actual threat. After failing to overthrow the regional government, the US has maintained a 50 year sore-spot for the rising middle eastern power that borders on the definition of angry playground bully. We gin up our animosity for the country with occasional mistranslations from the shah, fervent warmongering from Iran, and our own latent islamophobia. the reason you havent heard much saber rattling from the US lately is because after two government shutdowns, a massive recession, and two failed wars we're basically relegated to observer status in foreign politics. Sure, we'll hustle a drone across some parched desert country like yemen occasionally but the recent treaties brokered between Iran and the US betray the fact that we either participate willingly in some form of diplomatic process on their terms, or they ignore us from any process in the future with impunity.

    For vendors to bark up the cyber tree though? It might have worked 10 years ago for sure but now its a riskier gamble. Most people have forgotten the islamic republic single handedly and quite easily captured our most sophisticated drone. Perhaps the future threat is credible, that Iran would seek revenge for our Stuxnet attack on their nuclear research SCADA controllers, but thats predicated on the faulty logic that Iran would operate on a petty tit-for-tat foreign policy akin to the one the US has subscribed to for 40 years. Instead of feeding the trolls, Iran appears to just be focusing on nuclear power and something far more dangerous to the US than a nuclear bomb: Economic and energy independence. Building your own reactor fuel means you can power your cities outside your oil revenue and without having to purchase fuel from other countries. Everything from desalination to medical and industrial power now comes without the added caveat "with $foreign_nation assistance" and that means the US finds itself in the back seat the next time the middle east needs a desalination plant or X-Ray isotope. And it works as well as an ICBM as a deterrent, knowing the peaceful enrichment can rapidly turn into nuclear weapons if, say, another nation comes to overthrow your government again.
    • WW1 and WW2 happened in a little over a 30 years span and cost 65-100 million lives. It was follow by an economic almost golden age. I sometimes think that perhaps we really don't understand the motives of war.

  • that cyberattacks came from a country whose leaders yell "Death to America"?

  • I'm all for accurate information not driven by hype/politics/marketing, but the state of U.S. cybersecurity is pretty dismal. Whatever you want to believe about the number and sophistication of the attacks, the preparedness in both the private and public sectors has a long way to go.

  • These people are just trying to sell you another war folks. They don't give a shit about the security of the internet.

Yet magic and hierarchy arise from the same source, and this source has a null pointer.