Mr Fanusie, now adjunct senior fellow at the Center For A New American Security think tank, said: “Because cyberattacks are a form of asymmetric warfare with plausible deniability, it makes sense that Iran would use them to strike back. “Crypto could play a role in that.” He says Iran is likely to use cryptocurrency to fund disinformation tactics in the upcoming US election, similar to how Russia used digital currency as part of its interference in the previous campaign.
“Crypto helped Russia mount that operation, to purchase VPNs, rent computer servers, and buy domain names – it was mostly paid for in bitcoin,” he said.
“The US needs to understand information warfare is a growing part of cyber. It’s relatively easy to do a social media campaign with bots and the like.
“Crypto plays a role as you can hide your identity when purchasing these tools.”
Cybersecurity experts and government officials have already seen a spike in activity from pro-Iranian hackers and social media users.
Iran has been hit with severe economic sanctions by the US and the Iranian government has been probing the use of cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin to dodge US sanctions.
A form of digital money, cryptocurrency uses encryption to secure transactions and control the creation of new units.
Cryptocurrency is a form of digital cash that uses cryptography –a form of secret coding originating from the Second World War – to process peer-to-peer transactions securely.
It runs on decentralised software, so the transactions cannot be interdicted by third parties.
There are a wide array of different cryptocurrencies, the most well-known being bitcoin, which was launched in 2009.
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