On July 29, the South Asia Center‘s Iran Task Force and the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security‘s Cyber Statecraft Initiative launched an issue brief entitled, “Iran: How a Third Tier Cyber Power Can Still Threaten the United States” by Barbara Slavin and Jason Healey, and hosted a public briefing on past and possible future cyber skirmishes between the countries.

Iran: How a Third Tier Cyber Power Can Still Threaten the United States by Atlantic Council

Despite Iran’s lesser capabilities in the cyber field compared to the United States, it can still pose a significant challenge to the United States in terms of economic and political consequences, the brief concludes. Though Iran may not be a top cyber threat to the US, the panelists argued what Iran “lacks in capabilities, it makes up for in intent.” Slavin citing economic sanctions and Stuxnet attacks, suggested that Iran is not acting irrationally with respect to cyber policy. Panelists shared in concerns that ongoing US government actions have instigated one-off cyber attacks on the US private sector, and these attacks may be a distraction and dry run for a larger attack. Echoing recommendations from the issue brief, panelists warned that cyber is a “step in the ladder of conflict escalation” and attention must be paid to Iran’s cyber capabilities.

Related Experts: Barbara Slavin and Jason Healey