Iran has been responsible for some of the biggest cyberattacks against the United States government and military in recent years. Ironically, despite America’s warnings about the increasingly sophisticated cyberattacks from Iran, a recently revealed NSA leak suggests that America might have inadvertently taught Iran how to conduct these attacks while it was conducting its own cyberattacks on the country.
The U.S. Government often warns of increasingly sophisticated cyberattacks from adversaries, but it may have actually contributed to those capabilities in the case of Iran. A top secret National Security Agency document from April 2013 reveals that the U.S. intelligence community is worried that the West’s campaign of aggressive and sophisticated cyberattacks enabled Iran to improve its own capabilities by studying and then replicating those tactics. The NSA is specifically concerned that Iran’s cyberweapons will become increasingly potent and sophisticated by virtue of learning from the attacks that have been launched against that country. “Iran’s destructive cyber attack against Saudi Aramco in August 2012, during which data was destroyed on tens of thousands of computers, was the first such attack NSA has observed from this adversary,” the NSA document states. “Iran, having been a victim of a similar cyber attack against its own oil industry in April 2012, has demonstrated a clear ability to learn from the capabilities and actions of others.”