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Potential for Iranian Cyber “Counter Strike” Renews Focus on Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity

In the wake of the recent U.S.-led airstrike in Iraq that killed Qaseem Soleimani, the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps – Quds Force (a U.S.-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization), the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has issued two National Terrorism Advisory System (NTAS) bulletins warning of potential Iranian-led cyber attacks on U.S. critical infrastructures in retaliation for the killing of their military leader.  The DHS is specifically warning critical infrastructure owners and operators that Iran or its proxies are likely to elevate its efforts to do damage to U.S. interests through destructive hybrid attacks on industrial and government networks and facilities. 

The History Behind Iranian-led Cyber Attacks

Although there has long been threats of cyber attacks from Iranian-led forces on U.S. interests, up until now, evidence of their cyber attacks has been focused on interests outside the U.S.  For example, evidence points to Iran as the source of the destructive cyber attacks on Saudi Aramco, the largest oil company in the world, destroying data on an estimated 30,000 computer hard drives in 2012.  Then in 2017, Iran is blamed for the malicious software that attacked a safety system of Saudi Aramco’s and was seen as the first-ever example of malware targeting industrial control safety systems designed to prevent a disaster at an industrial facility. 

Fast forward to today.  What does this renewed focus on industrial cyber security mean for critical infrastructure sectors and technology companies serving those sectors?  It’s a wake-up call for the critical infrastructure sectors to reassess their cybersecurity preparedness in the wake of very real threats to their networks.  And it just might be the forcing function needed to convince critical infrastructure sectors that were lagging in their application of newer cybersecurity technologies to begin adopting the new technologies to protect their networks from these very credible threats. 

Today’s Focus on Industrial Cybersecurity

This renewed focus on industrial cybersecurity creates opportunities for cybersecurity companies positioned to best contribute to the security of the critical infrastructure sectors.  At Option3Ventures (, we go to great lengths to identify those unique cybersecurity companies that possess the qualities that make them a stand-out in the industrial cybersecurity arena.  O3V understands the industrial control cybersecurity landscape, the emerging markets and technologies, and just as important, the threats, as we come from a strong heritage in national security and the intelligence community space.  We maintain an O3V watch list of the best of the best cybersecurity companies positioned to rapidly grow to address the cybersecurity challenges associated not only with the latest threats, but offer products and services for cybersecurity risk mitigation well into the future. 

The O3V team believes emerging cybersecurity technologies in Automation, Transformational Technologies, and Cyber-Physical Systems, applied to emerging markets in industrial control and National Security Systems, IoT, Operational Technology, and Safety Instrumented Systems will create unique and timely investment opportunities to address the renewed focus on the emerging threats from foreign adversaries.  As the renewed focus intensifies over the next several months, with the prospect of accelerated intensity if any of the threats are realized, now is the time to speak with the O3V team of experienced security investors, technologists, and operators about the opportunities in this sector.  We invite you to talk with the O3V team members to learn more about the rigor behind our analysis, how we make use of one of the largest cyber knowledge bases in the industry, and how our proprietary deal flow access yields a laser-focused watch list of cybersecurity companies positioned for rapid growth in emerging technologies and markets to protect the critical infrastructure and other sectors.

Get in Touch

For more information, contact Lisa Donnan, Partner, Option3Ventures, at [email protected].


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