By William Tucker
In 2006, a professor at National Autonomous University of Mexico claims he was recruited by officials from the Cuban Embassy in Mexico to lead a group of hackers to attack the U.S. Instead of following through, the professor recruited a few students to infiltrate the hacking group to better understand how they operate. While Cuba was initially involved in setting up the group it appears that the hackers decided to offer their services to the Venezuelans and Iranians. Mexican television network Univision aired a secret recording of the hackers briefing diplomats at the Iranian and Venezuelan embassies in Mexico. The recordings aired by Univision detail the desire to attack U.S. government agencies, infrastructure, and even civilian targets.
The use of cyberattacks against an adversary are nothing new, nor are they meant to stand on their own. Cyberattacks are typically used in conjunction with other asymmetric warfare methods such as the Stuxnet attack on Iran. It has been well established that Iran has been working diligently on increasing its cyberwar capabilities, but the addition of Venezuela into this mix is certainly interesting. Caracas and Tehran have been cooperating in many other defense related ventures in South America, but this is the first indication of cooperation in the cyberworld. What we should take away from these allegations is that adversaries of the U.S. will pool resources in the cyber realm just as they do in the real world. The U.S. is a big target and many nations just don’t have the resources to take on Washington alone. We should expect to see more stories like this in the years to come.