Michael S. Rozeff
October 22, 2012

A month ago, Joe Lieberman was accusing Iran of being behind cyber-attacks on U.S. banks. He’s biased. His accusation is based on the erroneous belief that hackers could not have caused it. These banks were hit by denial of service type attacks, like slowing the site down due to excessive traffic. Hackers do know how to do this, and organized groups like Anonymous know how to do this and have done it. The group claiming responsibility for the bank attacks is Izz al-Din al-Qassam Cyber Fighters. If the attack were a high-level Israeli attack, it would be more serious and not simply a denial of service attack. It might be Israeli in origin and placing blame on a made-up Muslim group. It could be, as it sounds, Muslim hackers, not sanctioned by Iran. It’s least likely to be backed by the Iran government itself. There’s nothing to be gained by it and much to lose. It’s also not their style, and if they did it, why invent an imaginary Muslim group and draw attention to it? And why attack these banks?

Any cyber-attacks that are caused by state actors are likely to be more in the way of worms and viruses and Stuxnet type attacks. Kaspersky Labs, which specializes in these, says “we have only just scratched the surface of the massive cyber espionage operations ongoing in the Middle East. Their full purpose remains obscure and the identity of the victims and the attackers remains unknown.” The article in which this appears accuses Iran of attacking oil company web sites using viruses. The target, the method and the reason for those attacks are all much more plausible than Lieberman’s wild claim.

If U.S. banks or some government offices like those of State or Defense or the NSA or the executive are ever hit with a full-scale attack that goes beyond denial of service, the first suspect would be Israel, since we already know that Israel claims to have developed Stuxnet.

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