CYBERSECURITY EXPERTS say the American withdrawal from the nuclear deal could make hackers think they have nothing to lose.

THE HACKERS USED Malware nearly identical to the bugs used in a similar 2012 Iranian assault on Aramco - that replaced data on Aramco computers with an image of a burning American flag.

Private security researchers and American officials suspect that Iranian hackers also played a role in more serious attack in another, yet-to-be-identified Saudi Petrochemical plant in August that compromised the facility's operational safety controls.

Analysts believe that it was the first step in an attack designed to sabotage the firm's operations and trigger chemical explosion.

The tools used were so sophisticated that some forensic analysts and American officials suspect that  Russia may have provided assistance.

The August 2017 assault in Saudi Arabia marked a dangerous escalation that put officials and critical infrastructure operators in the United States on high alert.

The industrial safety controls that hackers were able to compromise in Saudi Arabia are used in tens of thousands of other installations, including other plants, oil and gas pipelines and water treatment facilities across the United States.

''Iran has upped the game faster than analysts anticipated,'' said Matt Olsen, the former general counsel of the National Security Agency and a former director of the National Counterterrorism Center.

He now works closely with energy companies monitoring threats as president of IronNet, a private Cybersecurity company

Mr. Olsen added that Iran ''is now among our most sophisticated nation-state adversaries. We can anticipate those capabilities could well be turned against the U.S.''

The Honor and Serving of the latest Operational Research on Technology, Cyberattacks, and Law,  continues to Part 3.


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