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Experts warn of cyberattack capabilities from Iran

NOW: Experts warn of cyberattack capabilities from Iran

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MADISON, Wis. (CBS 58) – The next retaliation from Iran may not be on military targets in the Middle East, but rather the infrastructure used by everyday Americans in the U.S.

Iran targeted American military installations in Iraq but no American soldiers were hurt or killed. President Donald Trump announced new economic sanctions against Iran Wednesday. Experts say that could spark a retaliation in the form of a cyberattack.

Dave Schroeder, a senior cyber strategist at UW-Madison, told CBS 58 Iran has carried out multiple cyberattacks against U.S. infrastructure in the past including banks, dams, casinos and even the city of Atlanta in 2018 in the form of a ransomware attack.

These attacks cost millions of dollars to repair and recover, but Schroeder said the worry now is whether Iran takes its attacks further.

“What they have the capability to do – but we don’t know if they’ll actually do it or may decide against it with the de-escalation now – is crossing some lines that haven’t been crossed before in the cyber realm,” Schroeder told CBS 58 in a phone interview. “And actually trying to conduct destructive cyber-attacks against critical infrastructure targets like power or water.”

Schroeder said there is not much individuals can do to prevent these types of cyberattacks, but people should take proactive steps in protecting their computers and securing their information. He added that a disinformation campaign may flood the internet for many Americans.

“The main thing for individual people is to be aware that there is going to be a lot of cyber-enabled propaganda that’s coming from bot and troll networks and other hackers and activists who may support Iran,” Schroeder said. “It really goes beyond just cyber-attacks to this larger information landscape.”

Schroeder noted that sophisticated cyberattacks take weeks or even months to launch so it will take some time to see if Iran takes that action.

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