Growing cyberattacks in US are worrying for MidEast | #government | #hacking | #cyberattack


In recent months there have been a growing number of cyberattacks in the US and other suspicious outages and threats to infrastructure. CBS reported earlier this month that “two ransomware attacks prompt the Biden administration to keep all retaliatory options open. [The] two cyberattacks targeted New York City’s subway system and the Massachusetts Steamship Authority. President Biden is leaving all options on the table.”

The ferry service to Martha’s Vineyard was affected by one such attack. Although key functions of the ships were not affected, procedures for customers were. Former president Barack Obama and other well known figures have houses on the Vineyard. “The cyberattack comes in the same week that the world’s largest meat supplier, JBS, was hit with a cyberattack from what they said was a group likely based in Russia. JBS shut down production at 13 plants in the US on Tuesday, but said most would be back up and running on Wednesday,” a report noted.

This week there was a major outage for several websites, which took part of a day before they came back online and functioned properly. A major pipeline in the US was affected by a cyberattack. The US seized the ransom paid after that attack. According to NBC in late May, “Russian hackers thought to be behind the catastrophic SolarWinds attack last year have launched another major cyberattack,” Microsoft warned, three weeks before President Joe Biden is to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Microsoft said in a blog post Thursday that the hacking group, known as Nobelium, had targeted over 150 organizations worldwide in the last week, including government agencies, think tanks, consultants and nongovernmental organizations.

Cyberattacks have also struck at water supply and other key pieces of strategic infrastructure. While some of these attacks may be merely for “ransom,” others may be more nefarious, guided by other governments or at least encouraged by them. During the Cold War, the Soviet Union appeared to host or give tacit support to well known terror masterminds like Carlos the Jackal. If they didn’t get support directly from Moscow they found fellow travelers in eastern Europe and other states in the Soviet bloc. These were useful figures. Cyberattackers may also be useful for adversaries of the US. At the same time, the cyber threat may affect US allies and partners, such as Israel.

Earlier this year, a series of reports alleged Iran was responsible for a growing number of cyberattacks on Israel; Water infrastructure, H&M Israel and Pay2Key were targeted. The water system was also targeted last year. In the wake of the pandemic that caused massive harm and death across the world, it is clear that major issues such as health and cyber may be key to defending national security. This is because a globalized world where conventional war is no longer the norm means that countries are seeking other means to wreak havoc. They may wreak havoc through cyberattacks or provide a base of operations for cyberattackers. Iran is known to have a kind of cyber army or “cyber Hezbollah.” An April 2021 article from Haaretz noted that Israel and the United Arab Emirates shared intel on a Hezbollah cyberattack.

The larger context is that the US and partner countries need to be on alert about these types of emerging threats, especially as countries such as Iran may work more closely in the future with adversaries of the US and Israel.





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