By Henry Holloway
CYBER WARFARE: Iranian opposition group have alleged Tehran is using military-made apps to spy
Daily Star-15th February 2018- Tehran’s elite military wing the Revolutionary Guard (IRGC) is accused of being behind a huge cyberwarfare empire being used to police its own people.
This comes in the wake of huge protests across Iran as thousands in 142 cities call for the overthrow of the Islamic regime – which celebrated its 39th anniversary on Sunday.
Campaigners from the National Council of Resistance of Iran(NCRI) have now laid out the scope of Iran’s cyber-developing capabilities.
Published today, the damning repot Iran: Cyber Repression accused the IRGC of developing apps which are unwittingly installed on people’s phones and then used as spying tools.
NCRI alleges these Iranian military-developed apps have also found their way onto iTunes, Google and Github – exposing “millions of users worldwide to the IRGC’s spyware and surveillance”.
And their warning comes just days after the US Director of National Intelligence branded Iran a cyber threat to the West.
The NCRI claims it has found Iran domestic mobile app companies are being used as fronts for the IRGC to develop spying apps for domestic app store Cafe Bazaar.
Iran’s universities have become “recruiting grounds” for the elite force to pick up recruits to develop weapons to cyber-warfare and spying, the report claims.
Apps such as Mobogram and variations of Telegram are all found to have been “malicious” and armed with spyware – and some have found their way onto the App Store, Googleplay and Github.al to their religious leader
The report reads: "The dissemination of these apps outside of Iran will enable the IRGC to spy globally and at will.”
It adds: "Some of these apps are also available on App Store, GitHub and Google Play despite reports and user reviews warning they contain spyware embedded by the Iranian regime’s app developers.
"The spread of these apps outside Iran will put Internet users across the world at significant risk, increasing the rate of malware infections.”
NCRI officials state the IRGC’s cyber warfare divisions are attempting to gain “full control over content” on the internet within their borders.
It is claimed the military is also going to expand its work following the recent protests – which has seen almost 8,000 people arrested and up to 50 people killed.
And the claim the IRGC’s growing cyber warfare portfolio is a violation of Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
On Tuesday, US spy chief Daniel R Coats said: "We assess that Iran will continue working to penetrate US and Allied networks for espionage and to position itself for potential future cyber attacks...
"Tehran probably views cyberattacks as a versatile tool to respond to perceived provocations, despite Iran’s recent restraint from conducting cyber attacks on the United States or Western allies."
Iran was identified as a cyber threat along with Russia, North Korea and China in a 61-page statement dubbed the Worldwide Threat Assessment.
Daily Star Online previously revealed opposition groups fears Iran will start a war in the Middle East unless there is another revolution to overthrow the Ayatollah.
The NCRI report states: "It is highly suspicious why the Iranian regime, which is hell-bent on controlling the Internet inside Iran, would make these apps available to other mobile users around the world through App Store, Google Play, and GitHub.’
It added: "While many of them have negative reviews and complaints about the apps being infected, they continue to be available for download on popular app stores."
Previously, the group has revealed details about Iran’s nuclear programme .