“Considering the increasing power and influence of cyberspace we are witnessing, future wars will be cyber wars, ” Norbakhsh Bagheri, commander of the Fourth Esfahan Combat Airbase said Sept. 11, according to the Tehran Fars News agency.
Bagheri spoke during the opening of a digital cultural center in Esfahan and warned that cyber warfare can equal kinetic explosive warfare in terms of its effect.
“Presently, there is no longer a need for bombardment; instead the enemy can be crippled by conducting cyber wars and affecting critical systems,” he said. “Instead of teaching young groups to use weapons we must train them on computers and in the principles of cyber warfare.”
Iran is considered an emerging military power in the field of cyber warfare.
An Iranian hacker group known as AnonGhost carried out cyber attacks on Israel on Sept. 11, marking the 12 anniversary of the al Qaeda attacks on New York and Washington. AnonGhost published its planned cyber attacks on Twitter and Facebook, promising cyber strikes on 400 Israeli websites.
The attacks were dubbed “Operation Israel, Reborn 11 September.” The hacker group also claimed it conducted attacks on U.S. Internet services providers AOL and Netscape.
The group produced a website that included postings of some 27, 000 email pilfered during the attacks. Details of the hack were listed here: pastebin.com/FP3kzMLY
Meanwhile, a commander with the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), Iran’s Islamist shock troops, last week discussed the “soft war” and cyber warfare being waged against Iran.
IRGC Col. Normohammad Sehati-Asl spoke about what he termed cultural attacks on Iran. “For a few years now a soft war has been waged against our country that requires the execution of essential defense approaches,” he said, according to the official Fars News Agency.
“Countering a soft war involves a series of previously determined objectives, which require planning and specific expertise.”
Sehati-Asl said numerous cyber attacks and soft warfare efforts had been thwarted in recent years by IRGC intelligence efforts.
“To defend against soft war we must increase our cyber capabilities so that we can take appropriate action in relation to these threats,” he said.
An Iranian group called Parastoo that U.S. officials say is linked to the Iranian government carried out cyber attacks against the U.S. government and financial institutions earlier this year.
In January, U.S. officials said Iran conducted several aggressive cyber attacks against financial institutions. The sophisticated denial-of-service cyber attacks were carried out over several months and hit banks and financial institutions.
The cyber attacks were part of what was called Operation Ababil. It prompted PNC Bank to warn customers about the disruptions. The bank said in a statement that “volume of traffic is consistent with threatened cyber attacks on the U.S. banking system and is designed to cause access delays for legitimate Internet customers.”
An Iranian group called the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Cyber Fighters carried out the attacks.
The group said it has targeted JPMorgan Chase & Co., Bank of America Corp, Citigroup Citibank, Wells Fargo & Company, U.S. Bancorp, PNC Financial Services Group, BB&T Corporation, SunTrust Banks, and Regions Financial Corporation.
Japan braces for Chinese cyber attacks
Japan’s government warned hundreds of businesses to be on alert for Chinese cyber attacks.
A major Chinese hacker group posted a notice recently alerting authorities in Tokyo that some 270 Japanese websites would be hit with cyber attacks during the week of Sept. 16.
Among the potential targets are the Japanese prime minister’s office and the Japanese foreign ministry, along with local government and media websites, Japan’s NHK television reported Sept. 11.
The attacks are believed to be timed to coincided with the anniversary of the Japanese invasion of Manchuria on Sept. 19, 1931.
Tensions remain high between China and Japan over the disputed Senkaku islands, located between Okinawa and Taiwan. China recent dispatched a strategic nuclear bomber near the islands and sent six warships to the disputed waters that are believed to hold large undersea reserves of gas and oil.
China has conducted cyber attacks against Japan, breaking into several major corporations.