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A new report by global management consulting firm Accenture is sending shockwaves in the world of technology. Titled “Cyber Threatscape Report 2018,” the document focuses on the rise of Iranian ransomware that demands cryptocurrencies. It states that the tensions in the geopolitical climate could lead to an escalation in problems presented by this threat.

Nuclear Wars to Cyber Wars

But what could political problems have to do with ransomware? Accenture looked into five new types of ransomware that were tracked all the way back to Iran. The company found messages written in Farsi, which leads to connections with the country. As reported on the Wall Street Journal, the programs “could have been created by government-backed actors or Iranian criminals, or both.

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According to Accenture’s report, the increasing ransomware activity in the country is “financially motivated to target global organizations by using ransomware and cryptocurrency miners for financial gain.

Is the United States on Iran’s Radar?

Accenture says:

“[B]ased on current Iranian policy, the feud may not lead to any disruptive or destructive cyber attack against the United States or European counterparts in the near future.”

However, this doesn’t mean that the threat has been contained and the economic and political policy of the US will not be harmed indirectly. For instance, a politically motivated cyber attack could be launched on Israel, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates or Saudi Arabia — all of Iran’s neighbors that support the US and its decision to end the Iran nuclear accord.

Middle East map with Saudi Arabia, Israel, and UAE. Source: shutterstock.com
Middle East map with Saudi Arabia, Israel and UAE. Source: shutterstock.com

According to Jim Guinn, the head of Accenture’s industrial cybersecurity business, cryptojacking attacks have already caused problems in several oil and gas facilities located in the Middle East, and the problem has continued since. In the wake of this situation and Accenture’s warnings, it will be worthwhile for the US and its allies to step up their security.

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