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Iran on Friday vowed "harsh retaliation" against the U.S. attack on Qasem Soleimani, head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force, though no one is certain when or how the country will respond. Iran declared a traditional three-day mourning period after his death.
"We assess that the deaths of Soleimani and al Muhandis are likely to materialize in multiple scenarios ... Retaliatory measures could include the possible use of short-range ballistic missiles, cyber operations, bombings and targeted assassinations," Priscilla Moriuchi, director of Strategic Threat Development at cybersecurity firm Recorded Future, told FOX Business.
"Although Iran possesses highly capable cyber operational forces, we believe the most likely targets of cyberattacks remain U.S. and partner interests regionally," she added.
Moriuchi also brought up recent instances in which Russian operatives hacked into Iranian technology to conduct cyber operations, which she said "will also likely cause increased uncertainty and possibly confusion for victims. It is less clear today that operations utilizing known and tracked Iranian cyberinfrastructure are actually being run and directed by the Iranian government."
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told "FOX and Friends" on Friday that the threat of a cyberattack is "always" a possibility.
"There’s always risk of cyberattacks," Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told "FOX and Friends" on Friday. "The Iranians have a deep and complex cyber capability, to be sure. Know that we’ve certainly considered that risk."
Concerns of a cyberattack come after the Pentagon followed presidential orders to kill Soleimani, citing the military general's "plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region" in a Thursday statement.
Soleimani is known to be responsible for the deaths of hundreds, if not thousands, of Americans as the leader of the Revolutionary Guard's intelligence wing.
Concerns of cyberattacks from Iran against the U.S. are nothing new. The country has posed a threat to U.S. cybersecurity since President Trump pulled the U.S. out of the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or the Iran Nuclear Deal. The threat continued as the Trump administration continued to sanction Iran for its nuclear practices.
Iran is one of four countries that pose a major threat to U.S. cybersecurity, including Russia, China and North Korea.