Iranian ministries unplugging from web in effort to beat cyber attacks

Tehran to install internal homegrown network in a bid for immunity from computer espionage

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Macbook (photo credit: Sophie Gordon/Flash90)
Macbook (photo credit: Sophie Gordon/Flash90)

Fearing cyber espionage attacks, Iran reportedly plans to shift official government bodies offline in response to several online attacks in the past years.

The country will unplug all of its ministries and state bodies from the world wide web, Britain’s Daily Telegraph reported Sunday.

Over the last two year, Iran has suffered a number of cyber attacks, including the super-sophisticated Stuxnet and Flame viruses, which reportedly targeted the country’s nuclear program and oil infrastructure.

The viruses’ authors have never been discovered, though some have pointed to Israel and the US.

Iranian Information and Communications Technology Ministry head Reza Taghipour Anvari said at a news conference that the web is not to be trusted because it is under the control of “one or two” countries hostile to Iran.

As a result sensitive intelligence is vulnerable, Taghipour said, and so Iran will instead set up its own secure internal computer system over the next 18 months.

“The establishment of the national intelligence network will create a situation where the precious intelligence of the country won’t be accessible to these powers,” Taghipour said.

The plan faces opposition from those who see it as a means of censoring Western influence on the Internet as well enabling even more surveillance of political activists, the Telegraph reported.

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