Spy Wars

Mashregh News reported that an intelligence official has also confirmed some of the previously publications from the Iranian government about Israeli espionage through Facebook campaigns. The article states that the source delves further into confirming the “Zionist regime’s” security apparatus and methods of attracting and recruiting spies through the use of social media. The official further commented that the use of humanitarian and peaceful campaigns such as “Israel Loves Iran” is not Israel’s only  method of recruiting spies through the Internet.

The official further explained to Mashregh News that that, “this criminal regime uses a variety of vehicles to deceive young Iranians. Some of Mossad’s new methods include recruitment of hackers through sites such as Tehran – Tel Aviv, Organization of Iran and Israel, and the aforementioned “Israel Loves Iran” campaign on Facebook and other social networking sites.” Visitors of these sites have been referred to the judiciary while others have been given ‘moral guidance’ by authorities. The article quoted the source as saying: “All persons connected to networks, active elements, and recent campaigns have been identified and  necessary measures will be taken regarding these individuals”.

Stuxnet and Flame Linked

Mehr News reported that researchers have discovered that the groups responsible for Flame and Stuxnet had cooperated together in the early stages of each of the attacks. Even though the two viruses were built on completely different platforms, they shared specific pieces of code that link the two together.

English language news sources, such as Reuters, have also reported on the connection that was discovered by Kaspersky Lab.

Hacker Help

General Kamal Hadianfar, cheif of the Cyber and Information Exchange Police (FATA), announced that the recent cyber-attack on Iran, which led to the disconnection of the Ministry of Oil’s server along with four of its subsidiary companies, was spread through an IP address from the United States. He said that American officials must reveal the identities behind the IP addresses to the Iranian government, and a formal request was submitted by Iran through the Interpol. BBC Farsi reported Hadianfar noting that cyber attacks against Iran have increased since the Stuxnet attack, which affected the computer system of some nuclear facilities in the country. According to General Hadianfar, these attacks have not harmed any organizations’ structure nor the country’s infrastructure.

Media Monopoly in Iran

Baztab News Agency  has obtained details regarding last month’s filtering of the Internet TV channel Jebhe-Paydari (Resistance Front). This Internet TV channel was established by Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi, hardliner cleric, in order to undermine the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting’s (IRIB) monopoly of media in Iran.

According to this report, Jebhe-Paydari’s website was filtered and its offices shut down, due to the network’s disregard of official warnings to end its activities.

In the past, the Guardian Council (one of the most powerful bodies in the country, which is the watchdog of the Iranian constitution) has also ordered the closure of Mohajer satellite channel,  as well as Imam Reza Channel and even Iraaniaan Channel – all of which were operating under legal licenses.

The legal department of IRIB cited that in accordance with Article Seven of the statute of the organisation’s charter,  it has a monopoly on the broadcast of all radio and television programs across the country. Any natural or legal persons seeking to establish or operate these forms of media (radio and television) will be prevented from continuing their work.

All Quiet on the Cyber Front

Three months after the formation of the Supreme Council of Cyberspace, no vital news has been reported by the body.  The article by Weblog-News, gives two possible reasons for the absence of news: the first, lack of work and research by the Council in the months since its creation, and the second, a lack of effort by the media in Iran to follow-up on the work of the Council.  In particular, since Iran has been subjected to numerous cyber-attacks recently, it would be expected that the Council would be reporting more activity.

Inter-governmental Disputes

It has not been long since President Ahmadinejad appointed Mehdi Akhavan, former director of Telecommunications Research Center, as the Secretary General of the newly established Supreme Council of Cyberspace. In an interview with Baztab, an official from the Ministry of Communications announced that Akhavan is looking to transfer the Telecommunications Research Center and its key projects from the Ministry to the new Council. A move, which according to the official, is expected to face opposition from within the Ministry.

Legal VPN

General Kamal Hadianfar, cheif of the Cyber and Information Exchange Police (FATA), announced that executive regulations for instances of permissible VPN use are being drafted by the Commission to Determine Instances of Criminal Content. General Kamal Hadianfar continued by stating that there are two types of VPN available in Iran – legal and illegal. He explained that organisations, government ministries and banks have permission to use legal VPNs.

He also mentioned that the Commission to Determine Instances of Criminal Content needs to block unauthorized VPNs and is required to monitor those with operating permits. FATA Police Chief also commented that 20-30 percent of Iranian internet users utilize VPNs and added: “The enemy provides encrypted VPN platforms in order to bypass filters, at low costs for users.”

Righ-Tel Delays

Iran’s Deputy Minister of Communication has reported that due to technical problems and delays in equipment installation, Righ-Tel, the 3-G service provider, cannot meet its deadline of delivering SIM cards to users.

Due to a delay in SIM card delivery, lack of adequate network coverage, and inconsistencies in SIM card registrations, Righ-Tel has been fined by the Communications Regulatory Agency. As a penalty, the validity of Righ-Tel’s operating license has also been reduced.

Unveiling Iran’s Premier Army Game

Iranian military officials have announced the release of a computer game titled Combat in the Gulf of Aden. The game has players taking the role of Iranian naval officers and battling pirates in the Gulf of Aden. A demo of the game can be seen  here.