back to article US general: Beware of Iran's Revolutionary Cyber-Guard

Cyber-attacks on Iran have forced the country to beef up its defences, with the result that the country's cyberwar capabilities have become far more complex, a US general has said. General William Shelton, who heads up the US cyber ops, told reporters during a briefing that Iran had responded to repeated computer virus attacks …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Combustable Lemon

    Probably doesn't mean much, given how a guy looking for UFOs was able to access their network with no more skill than your average office worker. I would imagine they see most nations with computers as a "threat".

    1. Zaphod.Beeblebrox
      Black Helicopters

      Ahh, but...

      You missed the true reason behind the announcement - this is the US Gov't preparing for the next phase of conflict with Iran. Talk up the enemy's capabilities, start the fear mongering so that when the right time comes, there is overwhelming support for the action they want to take against them.

      1. Ole Juul

        Re: Ahh, but...

        . . . support for the action they want to take against them.

        And that action against them could just as easily be deemed protective and include internet controls at home - for your protection.

      2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Ahh, but...

        But remember these are the elite republican guards so we must attack first

        ... certain sense of deja vu ?

      3. MrT

        It's only natural...

        I know this is tub-thumping and we've seen it before, but flip it back to comparisons with an immunity system - greater exposure to viruses et al gives rise to a greater ability to defend against them. It's only natural and anyone who expects otherwise needs to see the baker about that missing loaf and then the engineer about tightening that screw...

  2. frank ly

    Sow the wind ....

    ... you know the rest.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Sow the wind ....

      What's good for the Goose......

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Sow the wind ....

      the rest was history? :-S

      1. Spearchucker Jones

        Re: Sow the wind ....

        1. Y is always irrational, savage, and sub-human.

        2. X is always civilised, noble, and well-meaning.

        3. Aggression by X is always necessary for a perceived greater good.

        4. Aggression by Y is always explained in terms of 1, and never as a result of 3.

  3. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

    Masters of backfire

    "Look - Iranians! Their computers are crap, let's hack them! Oh, sh*t! They are becoming a force to reckon with - run for the hills!"

    When before it was like "Look - Mujahaddins! They really hate the Soviets, let's give them guns and rockets and train them to fight! Oh, sh*t! What's that plane doing there?!?!? Oh, cr*p, why has that car exploded?!?!? Run for the hills!"

    1. The Nazz

      Re: Masters of backfire

      Iraq, Egypt, Libya, Syria, Algeria ......

      Where will it end?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Masters of backfire

        "Where will it end?"

        At a guess when they interfere too much in Mexico's affairs.

      2. Naughtyhorse

        Re: Masters of backfire


      3. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Masters of backfire

        >Where will it end?

        Zimbabwe if we are doing them alphabetically

    2. Robert Helpmann??

      Re: Masters of backfire

      Not so much, I think. It was common during the Cold War to give different estimates of opposing forces depending who the general in question was talking to. If there was a wish to raise money for a bigger navy, for example, then every vessel the other guys had would go into the count, from battleship to fishing scow. However, if asked by a concerned citizen how our forces compare, then only those vessels that were obviously for military use got counted. It would not surprise me if there were something similar going on here.

  4. Will Godfrey Silver badge

    So playground bully doesn't expect victims to eventually fight back. Nobody else is the least bit surprised.

  5. zanto


    I think the tendancy to view Iran's scientific capabilities as backward could backfire. Years ago when i was working on cryptography hardware and doing research on modular exponentiation, some surprisingly good papers i read came from the University of Tehran.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Stereotyping

      Agreed. The people of Iranian origin that I've had any dealings with have been very smart people indeed.

    2. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: Stereotyping

      They've managed to run a nuclear program despite everyone's best efforts to avoid helping. They were, until 1979, one of the West's main allies in the region and have an indigenous civilisation stretching back at least as far as any European one.

      So you'd have to be pretty thick to be surprised that they can also program computers.

      1. Adam 1

        Re: Stereotyping

        And according to latest modeling, they could be as little as 3 years from 2016.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Stereotyping

      Wars often begin when nation A thinks its people are intrinsically better than those of nation B. Therefore it will be easy to defeat them, whether in trade and business, or in war. And since they are a simple, backward people, they can hardly be expected to know what is best for them. Perhaps a more advanced, cultured, civilized people should take them by the hand and guide them towards a better future...

      Notoriously the ancient Greeks despised everyone who did not speak Greek, calling them "barbaroi" because their speech sounded like a lot of "bar bar bar". Hence the word "barbarian". It was axiomatic to most Greeks that barbarians were intrinsically inferior, fit only to be slaves. Sometimes, when it came to battle, the barbarians surprised the Greeks by their intelligence and bravery. For a useful (and very entertaining) corrective, try Gore Vidal's novel "Creation".

      The Germans were convinced that Russians - indeed, all Slavs - were inferior races, and hence would be easy to conquer. The war on the Eastern front (known to Russians as the Great Patriotic War) demonstrated otherwise to all Germans who experienced it and did not have entirely closed minds. They discovered that Russians could be at least as brave as any German, and also intelligent, cunning, and resourceful. In a sense, the war was a huge experiment to prove that Germans were not superior, and Russians were not inferior.

      Those of us with the wit to read history and learn from it understand these lessons by now. Others, as Santayana noted, are condemned to repeat the past without ever learning anything.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Re: Stereotyping

        " In a sense, the war was a huge experiment to prove that Germans were not superior, and Russians were not inferior."

        No, it was an experiment to prove that Germans were superior. But the experiment did not confirm the hypothesis.

  6. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    CO of cyber weapons command seek worthy opponent for mutual improvement of funding.

    After all we've hit them with a targeted cyber attack.

    They'd have to be saints not to retaliate rather than just stay defensive.

    At least he can hope they will.

    Cynical you bet.

  7. koolholio

    Really old news

    Not surprised at all...

    Wonder if the UN / NATO would step in on cyber ops? Since its rediculous to begin with!

  8. This post has been deleted by its author

  9. bag o' spanners

    If they're bitching about Iran, they're probably unaware of the amount of deep penetration by Chinese, Russian, and sneaky Yurpeens. If a Matthew Broderick style basement hacker can stroll into their "secure" military systems, it's a fairly safe bet that the professional crypto builders and breakers all have genuine looking logins, or dupes of genuine security cleared access control rights. There's always a pea brained higher echelon type who wants full oversight on security systems for reasons of professional vanity, but has no idea about the basics of personal security.

  10. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Gentlemen, Start urEngines. Let the Greater Great Game Games begin‽

    There's a lot going on for real in the virtual worlds that command and control the nature of your existence. Be prepared to be shock and awed into IT and SMARTR InterNetworking Media and Live Operational Virtual Environments with the spread of Advanced Intelligence which you will not be able to deny is perfectly true, even though you may doggedly refuse or decline to accept and register that which you have been and are being told, and are cordially invited to try to disprove with the production of evidence to the contrary.

    And now you cannot say that you didn't know about any of all of that whenever you have been so clearly transparently informed.

    The Jinn Genies are out of the bottle and CHAOS is their Forte in AIMissions.

    And whatcha gonna do about IT? What can you do about IT? Methinks precious little, amigos.

  11. JaitcH

    "responded to repeated computer virus attacks by rapidly improving its cyber-capabilities"

    There the U.S. goes again, shooting itself in the foot.

    Mr. OBL won so often/so long against the USA because he stuck to the basics. They should have withheld all their goodies until they went to war.

    the US is also more vulnerable since they implemented so many systems and forgot to put a lock on the front door. Arrogant ignoramus.

    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: "responded to repeated computer virus attacks by rapidly improving its cyber-capabilities"

      I can think of another country in the early-mid 20th century who concentrated on increasingly expensive and sophisticated technology for warfare while neglecting the basics and making some fairly glaring tactical errors along the way. Noone should need reminding that they lost in the end

      It seems that OBL and friends simply used the adage "Never interrupt your enemy while he's making a mistake", while the other side concentrated on putting laser beams on sharks. (Only Dr Evil could have dreamed up stuff like the TSA)

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Who knew...

    That attacking a country, assassinating its top experts, blockading it the way the North did to the South in the Civil War, and continually threatening invasion (or nuclear bombardment) would make it strengthen its defences? Furriners - who understands them?

    "Cet animal est tres mechant:

    Quand on l'attaque, il se defend".

    1. Daniel B.

      Re: Who knew...

      The difference is that the CSA was incredibly under-industrialized, underpowered, and had a good % of its population against them: the slaves they refused to count as citizens.

  13. Lars Silver badge

    Let's not forget

    "Iran had responded to repeated computer virus attacks"

    Very unkind indeed, but let's not forget that nobody wants more nuclear weapons. There is this feeling that Iran is unable to refrain from trying to enter the nuclear weapons "club" of the USA, Russia, China, GB, France, India, Pakistan and North Korea. Iran would be the first Arabic nation then, and the "propaganda" value would be big among some inhabitants of this world. Iran has all the rights, in the world, to develop nuclear power, as anybody else, and to be open regarding it, unfortunally they have started to play a game, I hope many Iranians too, find disgusting and dangerous. I have been hoping for an Arabic spring in Iran too, seems to take some time, even if inevitable in the long run.

    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Let's not forget

      Even if there is an "arabic spring" in iran (persians are not arabs and they get offended by being called arabs), there's still enough resentment about being colonised by the ottomans and then used as a football by the west that they'd still work on this stuff - not among the least of reasons being that they know full well the oil will run out eventually and they need to sort out energy independence before that happens.

      BTW: you missed "Israel" from the nuke club. There's a fair amount of self preservation (MAD strategy) in the push to develop nukes across the middle east. I'm pretty sure if Israel wasn't constantly sabre rattleing the Iranians would be pushing thorium research as hard as they can, given the reources onhand.

      Iranian alliances tend towards the 'stans to the north, many of which have large persian majorities. Historically, arabs have been the enemy, not allies.

      1. Lars Silver badge

        Re: Let's not forget

        @Alan Brown

        Sorry about the "Arabs", in my view Israel is an Arabic state too if you had a look at the genetics and how they react to problems facing them.

        I left Israel intentionally out of the "club" because "Israel is also widely believed to have nuclear weapons, though it has refused to confirm or deny this, and is not known definitively to have conducted a nuclear test".


        The "has refused to confirm or deny" is exactly the logic one can expect from Iranians too.

        Anyway, perhaps we could agree on not needing any more nuclear weapons.

        Also, nuclear weapons have been sabre rattling since Nagasaki (1945) lets hope it will not get worse.

      2. Siraf72

        Re: Let's not forget

        Agree with your comment. However, I just wanted to point out the Persians were conquered by the Arabs many centuries before the Ottomans rose to power. The Arabs effectively ended the Persian empire under the rule of Umar Ibn Al-Khatab around 640AD.

        The Ottomans (who were also not Arabs) much later conquered both the Arab and the Persian territories.

        Not taking anything away from the other stuff you mentioned which I agree with. It's also worth pointing out that Iran hasn't invaded anyone in at least a 100 years. The same cannot be said for others.

    2. John R. Macdonald

      Re: Let's not forget

      Minor nitpick: Iran is not an Arabic country (Iran means 'Land of the Aryans' in Persian). Persian is an Indo-European language. Iran is an Islamic (Shia) country though. Muslims are already members of the nuclear club courtesy of Pakistan.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Cyber-BS ..

    "They are going to be a force to be reckoned with .. with the potential capabilities that they will develop over the years and the potential threat that will represent to the United States".

    Only if the US is going continue to host its defence infrastructure on Microsoft Windows ...

This topic is closed for new posts.

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021