Middle East

Iran, Russia working together to launch cyber attacks, former lawmaker claims

Executions have risen sharply under "moderate" new Iranian President Hasan Rouhani. (AP)

Executions have risen sharply under "moderate" new Iranian President Hasan Rouhani. (AP)

Iran has emerged as a leading cyber threat and has already hacked into the U.S. defense establishment and financial institutions, likely with the help of the Russians, according to a former chairman of the House’s Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

Iran has boosted its cyber capabilities in a “surprisingly” short amount of time and possesses the ability to launch successful cyber attacks on American financial markets and its infrastructure, former Rep. Peter Hoekstra, R-Mich., told a panel of lawmakers on Tuesday.

The Iranian regime’s emergence as a “world class” cyber threat likely has to do with its close ties to Russia, according to Hoekstra, who warned during a hearing on Iran’s global terror activities that the two countries will only boost coordination on the cyber front in the coming months.

“Iran and Russia will develop a much closer relationship,” said Hoekstra, who was on the House’s intelligence committee from 2001 to 2011. “Russia and Iran have so much to gain from more significant cooperation [and] the immediate impacts will be profound.”

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