There is no doubt that today’s political climate is one of the most tumultuous ever seen. We have seen a Presidential Administration that has recycled their staff so many times that you get dizzy even thinking about it. Now they are slapping tariffs on China, which could escalate into a massive trade war if left unchecked.
Because of this, we have seen the financial markets also in to huge turmoil in the last couple of weeks. The last time I have seen this craziness was back in 2008 at the height of the Great Recession. And we are also seeing this administration being marred by scandal after scandal.
To add all of this, is our literal diminishment in the international arena. In fact, we have even made our enemies now even our worst enemies. The prime examples of this are both North Korea and Iran. It seems like now that things with North Korea might be getting a little bit better, as direct talks are now being held with South Korea, and soon the United States. But, things with Iran might be telling a different story.
The primary reason for this is that many data centers in Iran were with a Cyber attack, where an embedded image of the U.S. Flag was emblazoned on the screens of the affected servers. Just beneath this image was a statement of the following: “Don’t mess with our elections”.
This Cyber attack was apparently a rather major one, where some 200,000+ router switches impacted worldwide, of those, 3,500 were impacted in Iran.
The primary targets were Internet Service Providers, and this cut off Internet access for an unknown period of time. The Cyber attackers pinpointed a vulnerability in the routers from Cisco (hmmm, I wonder if this similar to my blog post from last week???).
Cisco had made these patches available actually rather quickly, but it was also discovered that that some of these Iranian based ISPs were late in applying this patch, thus making them a prime target.
According to Cisco: “Several incidents in multiple countries, including some specifically targeting critical infrastructure, have involved the misuse of the Smart Install protocol…” (SOURCE: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-iran-cyber-hackers/iran-hit-by-global-cyber-attack-that-left-u-s-flag-on-screens-idUSKBN1HE0MH).
It still remains unclear even at this point in time who actually carried out the attack, but here are some key statistics:
*Data centers in Europe, India, and even the United States were the targets for this Cyber attack;
*Mobile devices were also impacted, in there 55,000 that were impacted in the United States, and 14,000 in China, and about 1,400 in Iran. Even officials from Iran have admitted to being slow in applying the updates from Cisco: “[there were] weaknesses in providing information to (affected) companies” after the attack which was detected late . . .” (SOURCE: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-iran-cyber-hackers/iran-hit-by-global-cyber-attack-that-left-u-s-flag-on-screens-idUSKBN1HE0MH).
But the good news with this is that the data centers in Iran were able to establish operations once within a few hours, and there was no major loss of data or information. Luckily, this Cyber attack, while it can be considered to be a major one, was muted rather quickly. But, here is where my fears lie into the future. We have seen Trump with his imbecilic tweets how tensions can rise very quickly, especially with North Korea.
Many political pundits were fearing World War III would me by March of this year, with the use of nuclear weapons. Very fortunately, nothing has happened, at least not yet (who knows what the future holds at this point in time). The war of words is one thing, but what about the war of pointing blame in a large scale Cyber attack, when the accused side was not involved?
Let me further explain. As mentioned, the US flag was posted on the screens on the servers in the Iranian data centers. What if the government of Iran mistakenly thinks that the US actually launched this Cyber attack (when they really didn’t) and decided to launch a few nukes at us (this is assuming that they have them secretly or will at some point in time) in response?
The war of words can be contained to a large extent, but not the war of images, especially when it comes to a Cyber attacker using them in their own attempt to start World War III. This is a scary proposition to say the least. God willing, this will never happen.