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The Iran Cyber Threat

Feb. 13, 2019 - In recent years, the Iranian regime has emerged as a global cyber espionage and attack threat. The mullahs ruling Iran are constantly escalating their efforts to deploy cyber-attack capabilities against Iranian dissidents as well as the critical infrastructure of other nations. Tehran also uses social media platforms to spread misinformation and fake news.

The Iranian regime has been imposing the harshest internet censorship against its own people from day one, denying Iranians access to free information.
The world’s most popular social media platforms, including Twitter, Facebook and YouTube remain banned in Iran.
This cruel internet censorship has made Iran one of the “enemies of the internet.”

Iran’s regime notoriously employs malware for espionage, especially identifying activists and pro-democracy protesters within its borders.
Even some Iranian state-sponsored spyware, such as like “Telegram Talaei” and “Mobogram,” have found their way into Google Play and Apple App Store.
Using such spyware, the Iranian regime has arrested nearly 8,000 protesters following the uprising that erupted in more than 142 Iranian cities at the end of 2017.

Iran’s malicious cyber activities are not limited to inside its borders. During the past decade, the Iranian regime has become one of the world’s leading cyber threats, establishing a complex and multi-layered organization under the direct supervision of the Revolutionary Guards. The Iranian regime uses this network to attack the assets of Western countries and neighboring Arab states.

Iran’s malign cyber threat report card speak for itself. In the past years, Tehran has targeted a broad range of targets, including dissident websites and social media accounts, banks, universities and government agencies of other nation-states, and critical Industrial Control Systems.


2010-2013 - Defacing and hacking opponents’ websites
2015 - Iran-associated hackers launched a massive data theft campaign targeting Iranian dissident abroad.
2016 - Iranian hackers attacked various infrastructure facilities, such as New York’s Rye Brook dam and U.S. banks.
2018 - Iranian state-sponsored hackers targeted nuclear scientists in U.S. and other western countries.
2018 - Iranian hackers hacked into more than 76 universities across 14 countries, stealing more than 30GB of studies on cutting-edge technology.
2018 - Iranian hackers attempted to target U.S. Justice Department infrastructures.

As seen in record of recent Iranian regime cyber hacking measures, Tehran is a rising global cyber threat and such destructive behavior is increasing drastically.


A vast campaign of misinformation aimed at manipulating public opinion and the media is another aspect of the mullahs’ cyber war against the civilized world. Since 2012, Iran has launched thousands of fake news websites and social media accounts to promote its destructive political agenda, especially through taking advantage of U.S. and western facilities.
This massive disinformation campaign targeted public opinion through 14 different languages in the U.S., countries of South America, Europe, northern Africa and the Middle East.

 


As a countermeasure, on two occasions we have seen Facebook, Twitter and YouTube remove thousands of state-run fake accounts and pages echoing Iran’s agenda by impersonating western journalists and citizens’ opinions.
Experts believe those identified fake accounts were just the tip of the iceberg.

 

The FBI has repeatedly identified and sanctioned more than a dozen Iranian state sponsored hackers.

 

Iran’s cyber war against the civilized world must be taken seriously and confronted before it’s too late.