Report: Iran's paramilitary launches cyber attack

Mar 14, 2011 By NASSER KARIMI , Associated Press

(AP) -- Iranian hackers working for the powerful Revolutionary Guard's paramilitary Basij group have launched attacks on websites of the "enemies," a state-owned newspaper reported Monday in a rare acknowledgment from Iran that it's involved in cyber warfare.

The report followed an announcement in January that Iran had formed its first cyber police unit in an attempt by authorities to gain an edge in the digital world.

The Internet has also been a key outlet for Iran's opposition since the 2009 disputed presidential election. In addition, Iran has been trying to boost its web defenses after the Stuxnet computer worm made its way into computers involved with the country's controversial nuclear program.

Gen. Ali Fazli, acting commander of the Basij, was quoted by state-owned IRAN paper as saying Iran's cyber army is made up of university teachers, students and clerics. He said its attacks were a retaliation for similar attacks on Iran, according to the semi-official Mehr news agency. There were no further details about the possible targets or the time of the attacks.

"As there are cyber attacks on us, so is our cyber army of the Basij, which includes university instructors and students, as well as clerics, attacking websites of the enemy," Fazli said. "Without resorting to the power of the Basij, we would not have been able to monitor and confront our enemies."

So far, the Revolutionary Guard - Iran's military-industrial powerhouse - was believed linked to the secretive "Cyber Army" that emerged to fight opposition websites and blogs after President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's disputed re-election in 2009.

In February, Guard chief, Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari, signaled that the force supports the cyber army, describing it as a "defensive, security, political and cultural need for all countries." Jafari claimed at the time that the Guard have been successful in .

Iran has been seeking to master the digital world as a crucial step to prepare for what it calls "soft war," which includes fighting against cyber attacks such as the Stuxnet computer worm that Iran said was aimed at sabotaging its uranium enrichment program.

Iranian officials claimed there were no setbacks in nuclear operations from Stuxnet but a November report by the U.N. nuclear agency said Iran's enrichment program was temporarily shut down in a possible link to the worm's infiltration at the Natanz nuclear facility.

The origins of Stuxnet are unclear. But it's considered a highly sophisticated malware designed to attack industrial systems and could have been aimed at the centrifuges used in uranium enrichment. Washington and others worry that Iran could eventually produce nuclear material for warheads, but Iran insists it only seeks to enrich uranium for energy and research.

The country has also been wary about Western cultural influences while trying to gain the upper hand in cyberspace against web-savvy opposition groups. Opposition groups use proxy servers and other tactics to stay ahead of authorities.

Explore further: Facebook tuning mobile search at social network

5 /5 (3 votes)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Iran claims computer worm is Western plot

Oct 05, 2010

(AP) -- Iran claimed Tuesday that a computer worm found on the laptops of several employees at the country's nuclear power plant is part of a covert Western plot to derail its nuclear program.

Stuxnet worm rampaging through Iran: IT official

Sep 27, 2010

The Stuxnet worm is mutating and wreaking further havoc on computerised industrial equipment in Iran where about 30,000 IP addresses have already been infected, IRNA news agency reported on Monday. ...

Computer expert says US behind Stuxnet worm

Mar 03, 2011

A German computer security expert said Thursday he believes the United States and Israel's Mossad unleashed the malicious Stuxnet worm on Iran's nuclear program.

Recommended for you

'SwaziLeaks' looks to shake up jet-setting monarchy

17 hours ago

As WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange prepares to end a two-year forced stay at Ecuador's London embassy, he may take comfort in knowing he inspired resistance to secrecy in places as far away as Swaziland.

Ecuador heralds 'digital currency' plans

17 hours ago

Ecuador is planning to create the world's first government-issued digital currency, which some analysts believe could be a first step toward abandoning the country's existing currency, the U.S. dollar, which ...

WEF unveils 'crowdsourcing' push on how to run the Web

Aug 28, 2014

The World Economic Forum unveiled a project on Thursday aimed at connecting governments, businesses, academia, technicians and civil society worldwide to brainstorm the best ways to govern the Internet.

Study: Social media users shy away from opinions

Aug 26, 2014

People on Facebook and Twitter say they are less likely to share their opinions on hot-button issues, even when they are offline, according to a surprising new survey by the Pew Research Center.

User comments : 0