A NEW wave of “cyber warfare” is using “mass surveillance” to “actively disrupt the communication of protesters and dissidents” in Iran and “promote terrorism” across the globe, an explosive document has claimed.
The paper was compiled by the official Iranian resistance movement, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI). It makes damning assertions which implicate the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) in waging “cyber warfare to preserve the theocracy”. NCRI representative Hossein Abedini has spoken to Express.co.uk about his group’s findings.
Furious Iranians, making use of cyber technology to disseminate their message, have been part of a popular uprising that erupted in Tehran in December 2017.
But now the theocratic regime – led by Iran’s IRGC and the Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) – is using “cyber attacks” to suppress its people, the Iranian Resistance document seen by Express.co.uk claims.
It explains: “Millions of Iranians have access to the internet and more than 48 million own smartphones.
“Iran’s young and restless population has become increasingly ‘tech-savvy’ over the years to evade the regime’s controls and censorship.
“The continuous cyber resistance by the public has driven the regime to route internet traffic through one of the state-controlled systems, making it very difficult for any subscriber to evade state-sponsored cyber repression.”
The ominous paper argues the Iranian regime is among very few governments in the world where “its testbed of cyber attacks and strategies is its own citizens”.
It contends this approach is “in line with Tehran’s longstanding worldview of instilling fear and repression at home, while promoting terrorism, Islamic fundamentalism and chaos abroad”.
The document claims the regime uses malicious malware and spyware embedded within smartphone applications (apps) to “secretly spy” on its people.
The apps are distributed through Iran’s Android mobile marketplace, ‘Cafe Bazaar’, according to the NCRI paper.
It claims one of the main apps used to “spy on subscribers” is ‘Mobogram’, “whose embedded spyware and surveillance features can trigger significant access and authority without the user’s consent and awareness”.
According to the NCRI document, Iran’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei, who is quoted as saying, “cyberspace is as important as the Islamic Revolution”, attributes great significance to containing the “cyber threat” to the regime.
Khamenei was also cited in August 2017 as saying: “If I were not the leader of the revolution, I would have definitely become the chief of cyberspace.”
On January 26, 2018, Ahmad Jannati, the head of the regime’s ‘assembly of experts’ announced, “Khamenei had a meeting with a number of cyberspace specialists for a few hours on Tuesday, January 23, and had serious talks about the issue”, adding “cyberspace is a blow to our life”, the dystopian document states.
Of the revelations, NCRI member Mr Abedini said: “The regime has been using cyber repression to attack almost 50 million Iranians who are using social media.
“The Iranian youth are known as being ‘tech-savvy’ and they have been working with social media to send out their message.
“The Iranian regime has been using ‘cyber terrorism’ to attack both westerners, here, in universities in the UK and its own people.”
The pro-regime-change representative continued to claim British MPs had been personally targeted by the malicious regime.
His extraordinary assertions come after hundreds of Facebook accounts were suspended last month due to suspected links with the Iranian regime and Russia, who were both accused of using them to spread disinformation.
They also follow a recent expose which revealed how a Tehran-based agency has quietly fed propaganda through at least 70 websites to countries from Afghanistan to Russia.
Speaking to Express.co.uk, human rights activist and anti-regime campaigner Masoud Dalvand, who called for a resistance movement to overthrow the “religious dictatorship”, explained how the Iranian people have been attempting to fight back against Iran’s suppressive forces.
He said: “In January 2018, nationwide protests and uprisings began in Iran.
“They have continued in various parts of the country as widespread protests and strikes by different classes.
“The ruling dictatorship in Iran, in fear of being overthrown by the people and their organised resistance, arrested tortured and assassinated especially women and young people.”
In response to the regime’s alleged cyber repression, the NCRI has offered a series of “countermeasures” and called on the international community to reverse its policy of “ambivalence and inaction”.
The measures include “tough sanctions” for those implicated in waging cyber warfare, a “circumvention” system so Iranians can enjoy “safe, secure and free” internet access, making smartphone apps available in the Farsi language and enforcing “hygiene” measures in app marketplaces to “prevent the proliferation of spyware-enabled apps by the Iranian regime”.
Source » express