Leon Panetta warned this week that the US was vulnerable to a "cyber Pearl Harbor" attack, and he apparently had Iran very much in mind. US officials tell the Wall Street Journal that Iranian hackers have been mounting electronic attacks for months on American targets, especially banks. The Journal refers to it as a "low-grade cyberwar" orchestrated by the government in Tehran.
"They have been going after everyone—financial services, Wall Street," a senior defense official tells the newspaper. "Is there a cyberwar going on? It depends on how you define 'war.'" The denial-of-service attacks on the banks didn't do much more than knock the sites off line for a while, but the fear is that they are a precursor to a larger attack. The hacking is seen as retaliation for US-led cyber strikes against Iran, including the Stuxnet virus. (So far, no signs of AC/DC at US bank sites.)