NSA leaks suggest Iran learned cyberwarfare from US attacks -Engadget

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“The US government and various security researchers have connected Iran to a number of egregious cyberattacks in the past, including one launched against the Navy. And based on a 2013 NSA document leaked by Edward Snowden that The Intercept has just published, they’ve also long suspected that Iranian officials learned cyberwarfare from the West’s previous attacks against the country’s computers. The NSA is also apparently worried that the country’s cyberweapons are becoming more and more potent, as it continues to improve and not just replicate its enemies tactics. As you might have guessed, Iran’s crusade to give its enemies a taste of their own medicine began with the attacks against its nuclear facility.”

http://www.engadget.com/2015/02/10/nsa-iran-cyberwarfare/

 

For further reading on this topic:

Wired: An Unprecedented Look at Stuxnet, the World’s First Digital Weapon

This article provides a very detailed overview of the stuxnet operation:

“Stuxnet, as it came to be known, was unlike any other virus or worm that came before. Rather than simply hijacking targeted computers or stealing information from them, it escaped the digital realm to wreak physical destruction on equipment the computers controlled.”

An Unprecedented Look at Stuxnet, the World’s First Digital Weapon

 

NYTimes: Nuclear Facilities in 20 Countries May Be Easy Targets for Cyberattacks

“WASHINGTON — Twenty nations with significant atomic stockpiles or nuclear power plants have no government regulations requiring minimal protection of those facilities against cyberattacks, according to a study by the Nuclear Threat Initiative.

The findings build on growing concerns that a cyberattack could be the easiest and most effective way to take over a nuclear power plant and sabotage it, or to disable defenses that are used to protect nuclear material from theft. The countries on the list include Argentina, China, Egypt, Israel, Mexico and North Korea.”

OPEC’s decision ushers in new world of oil -Financial Post

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The Saudi decision to let oil prices fall further has led some observers to suggest that they have abandoned their traditional position as swing producer allowing the US to take over that role because of its increasing shale oil production. Although shale oil is more expensive to extract, its not as expensive as often thought, with the cost in the $40s/barrel rather than over the $80/barrel mark.

“The question is, what price level will be low enough to slow U.S. production growth?” Torbjoern Kjus, an analyst at DNB ASA, Norway’s biggest bank, said by phone. “What price will get U.S. growth to slow to 500,000 barrels a day from this year’s rate of 1.4 million barrels?”

Only about 4% of U.S. shale production needs $80 or more to be profitable, according to the Paris-based International Energy Agency. Most production in the Bakken formation, one of the main drivers of shale oil output, remains profitable at or below $42 a barrel, the IEA estimates. The agency expects U.S. supply to increase by almost 1 million barrels a day next year, with increasing flows to international markets.”

http://business.financialpost.com/2014/11/28/opecs-decision-ushers-in-new-world-of-oil/?__lsa=6df6-b969

This led to the onset of a new era in the history of oil production, a 4th era with a US swing producer.
Perhaps. Saudi Arabia still has far more surplus capacity, and production costs at or below $10/barrel…..

Its also worth noting that many have also argued that the Saudi’s willingness to accept low oil prices has been driven by their desire to punish Iran, which traditionally has wanted higher prices. well today the Iranian government and the Iraqi government -which is very close Tehran- cooperated with Saudis by cutting their prices to Asian markets.
see: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-02-10/iran-s-heavy-crude-price-set-at-3-66-bbl-discount-for-march