Cybersecurity

What Do We Do In the Aftermath of a Planned Cyberattack that is Revealed?

By Herb Lin
Wednesday, February 17, 2016, 1:08 AM

David Sanger has a new story (U.S. Had Cyberattack Plan if Iran Nuclear Dispute Led to Conflict) that leaves a very important question unanswered.

Here’s the key paragraph:

Nitro Zeus was part of an effort to assure President Obama that he had alternatives, short of a full-scale war, if Iran lashed out at the United States or its allies in the region. At its height, officials say, the planning for Nitro Zeus involved thousands of American military and intelligence personnel, spending tens of millions of dollars and placing electronic implants in Iranian computer networks to “prepare the battlefield,” in the parlance of the Pentagon.

Now that the nucelar agreement with Iran has been signed, what has become of the electronic implants that were placed to “prepare the battlefield”?

Did we tell Iran where they are? Or how to find them? I’ll bet not. Did the US erase them? That’s more likely. Or did we leave them in place? That’s more likely still.

What should we be doing with those implants? It makes a great deal of tactical sense to keep them in place. But is that a wise policy choice? I don't know.