Iran strike puts U.S. cybersecurity experts on alert

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Almost immediately after news broke that the United States had killed Gen. Qassem Soleimani, a high-profile Iranian military commander, in Iraq, John Hulquist’s inbox was already filling up.

“I was getting inquiries within an hour from customers who were concerned about the threat to them,” said Hulquist, the director of intelligence analysis at FireEye, a cybersecurity company that works with many Silicon Valley companies.

Cybersecurity professionals across the U.S. expressed a mixture of concern and caution Friday, with many explicitly saying that they are gearing up for potential retaliation from Iran, which has already proven in recent years to be a formidable adversary in the cyber realm.

Iran is considered one of Washington’s primary adversaries in cyberspace, and has shown a willingness to go after government and civilian targets. While Iran has also engaged in social media disinformation campaigns and hackers have defaced websites, cybersecurity experts who spoke with NBC News said they’re particularly concerned about potential breaches of major U.S. companies and government agencies that work with crucial infrastructure.

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