Despite calling off missile strikes against Iran, turns out that the United States launched strikes anyways, only of a different sort. The U.S. Cyber Command (USCC) apparently launched retaliatory attacks last week against an Iranian spy group. The spy group has been accused of targeting ships across the region.
Specifically, the USCC targeted computer software that was being used to track tankers in and around the Gulf of Oman. However, owing to the sensitive nature of the operations, most of the details are being kept under wraps.
Compared to Russia, Iran is a small-time player in cyber warfare. However, Iran has been trying to beef up its capabilities, and it’s believed that recent cyber attacks were carried out by Iran itself. Traditionally, Iran has outsourced cyber warfare to Russian groups.
Christopher Krebs, from the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity arm, has stated that the agency “is aware of a recent rise in malicious cyber activity directed at United States industries and government agencies by Iranian regime actors and proxies.”
Meanwhile, further information has come out regarding the U.S. aborting military strikes against Iran. Reportedly, American military forces were just ten minutes away from striking targets in Iran. President Donald Trump made the decision to call off the strikes because there would be too many deaths—roughly 150 according to intelligence sources.
Given that the whole situation started over an unmanned drone being shot down, one could argue that even a single death would be disproportionate. Cyber attacks and other non-lethal measures are, arguably, more proportionate.