One of the interesting aspects of the coming age of cyberwarfare is the non-cyber components, or what may be more graciously considered the crossover or spillover effects of cyber-conflict.
The recent declaration of Venezuelan Consul General Livia Acosta Noguera is a good example.
The conjecture of now is that Acosta was declared persona non grata by the US State Department and ordered to leave because, according to a Univision documentary, she was accused of talking to Mexican officials about the likelihood of sponsoring an Iran-based cyber-attack on the US. Of course there’s no public evidence of this talk, nor that this is what the State Department is concerned with. In fact, the way I’ve worded it here is a step further than most news reports which merely say
“she, while stationed in Mexico in 2007, spoke with computer experts about an Iranian cyber-plot against the U.S.”
Of course, talking about Iranian plots are not enough to make such a bold diplomatic move.
Rather this seems to be the result of the decades long resentment between the U.S. and Iran that spiked after Iran (claimed to have) knocked a US intelligence drone from the sky and waved it around for the whole world to see. I’m probably missing a few things, but the notable incidents were the drone going down, followed by a brief controversy over whether or not the Iranians were faking it. Then it was proven to be our drone and the US asked for it back. Obviously the Iranians refused. Then there was EU/US talk of increasing sanctions on Iran because of their nuclear program, followed by the Iranians threatening to shut down the Strait of Hormuz which would drive oil prices sky high. Then Ahmedinejad began his tour of Latin America by visiting known US gadfly Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. The State Department has seemed to ejected Acosta as a direct reply to Iran’s outreach attempts in South America.
And right at the center of all this is an alleged cyber-attack.
Is this cyberwar?