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article imageIran government offices logging off the Internet

By Anne Sewell     Aug 7, 2012 in Internet
Tehran - Iran is planning to move the country's key ministries away from the World Wide Web. Tehran states that the Internet is "untrustworthy" and the country is planning a domestic intranet.
This action will be the first phase in a planned Iranian project, which would effectively replace the Internet with a domestic intranet. The Iranian Minister of Communication and Technology, Reza Taqipour, announced earlier this year that the new system will be operational in around 18 months.
Taqipour accuses a handful of Western countries of having the monopoly control of the Internet.
"The Internet should not be in the hands of one or two specific countries," he told Iran's FARS news agency, citing how the Internet has become an indispensable element of economic, security and social policy.
Taqipour told a conference on Sunday at Tehran's Amir Kabir University that "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."
He further said the Internet could not be trusted because it was controlled by "one or two" countries hostile to Iran, a veiled reference to the United States and Israel.
The new domestic internet, working as a kind of intranet, is supposed to be "clean" from "immoral" sites.
It is thought that the decision to switch to an intranet is the result of a series of hacking attempts and cyber attacks against Iran. In July, Iranian nuclear facilities were reportedly attacked by a musical virus, which turned on lab computers at night and blasted AC/DC's "Thunderstruck."
On top of this, in May 2012, experts at Russia's Kaspersky Laboratories exposed a Trojan virus called Flame, designed to spy on web activity in Iran and other Middle Eastern nations.
Cybersecurity experts said that Flame was “probably the most complicated virus ever,” and that it was believed to have targeted Iran's oil ministry and main export terminals.
A further attack on the country's nuclear program, causing serious setbacks, was the state-of-the-art Stuxnet virus. This virus targeted computers running uranium enrichment centrifuges at the Natanz nuclear facility in Iran and is said to have destroyed thousands of centrifuges, and set back Iran's nuclear program by months.
It is believed that both Flame and Stuxnet were a joint development by the U.S. and Israel.
However, one Iranian cybersecurity specialist, Nima Rashedan, told the Telegraph that it is doubtful the domestic network will be a success.
"Because of the dis-functionality of the government, I don't think they will be able to implement it properly," said Rashedan.
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