The International Institute for Iranian Studies (Rasanah) has released a book titled “Iran’s Software Piracy and Digital Militias: Its Threats and Unannounced War Against the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.” It is a 400-page book authored by the Iraqi writer Hassan Mudhafar Alrazu. This book deals with the topic of national security in the age of electronic warfare, with a particular focus on Iranian hacking attempts to violate Saudi Arabia’s digital systems and cyberspace.
In the age of electronic warfare, the importance of this five-chapter book – which is rich in information and provides researchers and those concerned with this subject deep insight – emerges. The first chapter deals with digital conflicts and threats that are taking place in the three military arenas: land, air, and sea. The second chapter deals with those involved in the arena of digital conflicts and threats: their segments, and equipment, as well as the mechanisms used in their attacks. In addition, the range of their activities and practices are discussed which are fomenting conflict among rival states in cyberspace.
In the third chapter, the book details the Iranian institutions charged with information technology and communication as well as the defense and digital deterrence institutions in Iran and their restructuring. This latter issue has emerged as a result of ongoing disputes among the multiple centers of power in Iran and the change in the position of the supreme leader, the IRGC, members of the Consultative Assembly and Majraia towards the issue of information technology and communication.
The fourth chapter focuses on the hacking community and groups in Iran, their growing number and the emergence of hacking forums, which have managed to attract a significant number of ordinary users, and people who work in security firms or research centers. The hacking community has also managed to recruit individuals who work in government institutions that of a purely military, security and academic nature.
In the fifth and last chapter, the focus is on the attacks mounted by Iranian hackers on Saudi Arabia’s cyberspace. This chapter includes a discussion of the unique characteristics of the information technology and communication spheres and their relationship to shaping the balance of power in the Middle East.
Iranian information hackers have bought to the attention of IRGC thinkers and planners the importance of forming a team to act as a digital deterrent force. The chapter is concluded by a discussion of Iran’s digital proxies and the role of Saudi hackers in confronting Iran in cyberspace. This is in addition to the proposed Saudi plans to deal with Iranian digital threats against the Kingdom. At a time when we are witnessing an increase in the pace of digital wars, the significance of timing emerges given the preemptive nature of these wars. Digital wars can strike and impact key facilities during peacetime even before the battle begins on the ground. To counter digital threats requires harnessing the expertise, human minds and developing appropriate technology.
It is worth mentioning that the book is available at Rasanah’s booth at the Jeddah International Book Fair. Rasanah is also exhibiting several other publications related to Iranian regional and international affairs.