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Iran Official Says Recent Cyberattacks Meant To Discredit Government

An internet cafe manager works on his computer as a man talks on his cell phone in Tehran, July 25, 2019. FILE PHOTO

Deputy Minister of Telecommunications on Monday said unprecedented recent cyberattacks are aimed at lowering Internet quality to make people worry about government meddling with access and cause dissatisfaction.

The attacks which began on February 8 have affected some mobile operators as well as home internet providers and cloud services.

"We are concerned about attacks aiming at lowering the quality of the Internet and raising concerns that the government itself is trying to bring the quality down," Amir Nazemi, Deputy Minister of Information Technology and Telecommunications and Head of Iran IT Organization was quoted by the Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA) as saying.

Nazemi also said that massive recent cyberattacks against Iranian infrastructures which are of DDoS type originate from outside the country but there are some attacks from within the country as well. Iran's IT chief also said that some data centers that had not been exposed to this type of attacks before were not prepared for dealing with them.

According to Iranian IT officials, the attacks are conducted from multiple IP addresses which makes it very difficult to repel them. So far all officials had only blamed hackers outside the country for the attacks. This is the first time an official has pointed a finger at hackers inside the country.

Some companies such as ArvanCloud (Abr Arvan), a cloud services company, have announced a massive attack on Sunday. The company yesterday announced that all its cloud services had been disabled by the attackers and its Internet services were slowed down.

In an interview with Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) on Monday Sadjad Bonabi, an official of Iran's Telecommunications Infrastructures Company, said the new wave of cyberattacks which targeted cloud services started on Friday and still continue.

Bonabi said if it were not for DEZHFA, Iran's home-grown firewall, the recent attacks would completely destroy the network in Iran. In a tweet on Monday Bonabi, too, claimed that attacks on some companies may have been carried out by business rivals and offered assistance to those affected.

Some Iranian social media users blame the electricity blackouts in Tehran and several other cities in the past few days for Internet disruptions. Government officials say fuel shortage is responsible for blackouts.