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‘Iranian Cyber Army’ hack of Twitter signals cyber-politics era

Activists of all political stripes are expected to more aggressively pursue their ideological adversaries by any means necessary in cyberspace. On Thursday, Twitter was attacked for a second time, with an unknown group called the Iranian Cyber Army claiming the strike.

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Military security experts say cyberattacks on Twitter and other social networking sites portend a new kind of warfare in which financial institutions, electrical grids, and computer networks could be targeted.

Koji Sasahara/AP

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Politics online is becoming just as volatile as politics on the street. Just take Twitter. On Thursday night it was attacked for a second time, supposedly by politically motivated hackers with an ax to grind over how the popular mini-blogging site has evolved into a useful tool for activists.

An unknown group called the Iranian Cyber Army claimed the latest strike. It successfully redirected Twitter traffic to a website that contained an anti-American message. The group has also claimed attacks on the website belonging to several Iranian opposition groups.

In August, Twitter was hit in a cyberattack that also took aim at Facebook and Google. The target of that strike was believed to be a Georgian blogger and popular online critic of the Kremlin for its actions in the 2008 war with Georgia.

“This is just politics of the future,” says James Lewis, a cybersecurity expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. “This is better than spray paint but it’s roughly in the same family.”

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