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: Philippine agents arrest 43 in cybersex raids

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

Facebook dressed down over 'real names' policy

16 hours ago

Facebook says it temporarily restored hundreds of deleted profiles of self-described drag queens and others, but declined to change a policy requiring account holders to use their real names rather than drag names such as ...

Yelp to pay US fine for child privacy violation

23 hours ago

Online ratings operator Yelp agreed to pay $450,000 to settle US charges that it illegally collected data on children, in violation of privacy laws, officials said Wednesday.

User comments : 0