gAtO hEaR- In Iran the nation’s telecommunications ministry publicized in early 2011, it would disconnect Iran from the rest of the world and run a parallel internal service (“Islamically permissible ‘halal’ network”) that would automatically censor material and block popular global sites. In Iran two-thirds of the country’s 78 million people are under the age of 35, and about 40 percent of the population have Internet in their homes, according to Internet World Stats, making Iran one of the highest per capita cyber-connected populations in the world. Iran has a pollution of about 77 million people, about 53% of the people are on the Internet and not one of them is a Facebook user. In nearby Jordans they have 1.7 million users and 1.6 millions of them are on Facebook.
Stuxnet was deployed and stopped their nuclear weapons program. 2 leading scientist were killed Iran blames Massad -CIA. Iran is spending billion on cyber Hardware. Arab Spring. Iran took down U.S Drones. Iran threatens closing down the Straits of Hormuz. Iran claims new Cyber Army is ready for war in Cyberspace.
Now with the March 2, 2012 parliamentary elections we see official of Iran’s Judiciary announced “new limitations” on using cyber space and content publishing on the internet. A task force of 250,000 cyber police currently monitors the Internet, specific sites, blogs and individuals suspected of using circumvention tools. Israeli intelligence officials have revealed that they believe Iran has, in the last few years, spent over a billion dollars to upgrade their Cyber War capabilities.
Iranians have friends like Venezuela and China-based Hauwei corporation which is being investigated by Senators like Rhodes Islands Sheldon’s Whitehouse (“gAtO knows Senator Sheldon Whitehouse he is one of several leaders that understand the complex cyber security issues”) for supplying critical cyber infrastructure to Iran while it supplies equipment and supports the (TS)Top Secret DOD projects. This is clearly a violation when a communist country is providing TS support to our governments and we hear that some of the equipment may have digital backdoors into the infrastructure defeating all virus scanning software. On the other side of friendships Univision uncovered Iranina and Venezuelan diplomats working on launching cyber-strikes against energy facilities and to other U.S assets (NYT 12-13-2011).
Iran’s leaders saw what the Arab Spring brought down last year and they see the Parliamentary elections in March as the most sensitive in the history of the Islamic republic and they will do everything to control it. Beacause of the March 2 elections Iran has ordered all Internet Cafe implement all cyber security monitoring software installed and functioning by Jan. 18. The monitoring include requiring a user to provide full name, father’s name, Iranian identification number, zip code and telephone number, in addition to presenting photo identification. The laws require cafes to install closed-circuit surveillance cameras that must be checked at the end of every business day. Cafes also must keep records of all websites and browsing history, along with surveillance tapes, for six months.
The new restrictions forbid cafes to allow the use of any circumvention technology, such as Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) or proxy servers, the devices Iranians typically use to access blocked sites.
This latest attack on Internet users comes amid increasing tensions between Iran and the West and deteriorating economic conditions as the Islamic Republic preemptively prepares for possible civilian unrest during its parliamentary elections. The Iranian people use tools like TOR to circumvent authorities to get their message thru even though these free TOR networks are getting hammered by the Iranians to try and take them down or get the information of the dissidents.
Let’s support these projects and keep Freedom of Speech open in cyberspace -gAtO oUt.
Internet cafes to install surveillance cameras,
U.S. Expels Venezuelan Diplomat Reportedly Involved in Cyber Attack Plot
Parliamentary elections in March seen as the most sensitive in the history of the Islamic republic
Huawei’s Work in Iran May Violate U.S. Sanctions, Lawmakers Say
Iran blocks Tor; Tor releases same-day fix
Iran’s strict cyber regulations lay groundwork for ‘halal’ network
Iran Sets Cyber Crime Policy ahead of New Elections