An outfit which runs a VPN service for Iranian customers said that attempts by the government to block the service over the weekend have failed.
Iran tried to block VPN ports all over the country to stop citizens seeing banned sites like Facebook and Skype.
But the owner of a Brazilian VPN says that it has been unaffected.
Joshua Van Raalte told TechEye that the users of the “Hide My Ass” free proxy have not been affected.
He thinks that this latest attempt at internet restriction is likely to be largely futile.
Van Raalte said that the block on VPNs was confirmed by a local protester on Facebook which is supposed to be a banned site in Iran.
“The Chinese government has also spent years and millions of dollars on technology intended to block VPNs, and yet they still get through regardless,” Van Raalte said.
He added that the provision of proxy technology, tools and software has so far managed to evade all attempts at censorship.
More than 1,200 Iranians use HMA’s free proxy service every week, even though it is officially “blocked” by the Iranian government.
Van Raalte said that HMA will continue to support users from Iran as much as it can in order to promote openness, and the global freedom of expression provided by the internet.
The Iranian government has worked out a way to cut off those people who used VPNs to bypass the countries ludicrous censorship laws.
Many Iranians use proxy servers over virtual private networks to circumvent government restrictions and mask their activities. Officials claim they have blocked use of the “illegal” tool by closing down “illegal VPN ports” in the country.
Ramezanali Sobhani-Fard, the head of parliament’s information and communications technology committee, told Reuters: “Only legal and registered VPNs can from now on be used.”
It is not clear how much of this is possible as we suspect that there will be opposition groups that will work their way around any technology that the Iranians can throw at them. What is more likely is that the control of VPNs has less to do with controlling dissidents but more about forcing companies to buy government backed products.
Iran’s Supreme Council of Cyberspace is planning to flog “official” and “legal” VPN services to companies and corporations that needed them for security.
Of course this means that all corporations will have to run their businesses through government servers which will make them a lot easier to spy on.
Council Secretary Mehdi Akhavan Behabadi told the Tehran Chronicle last month that by launching this program, the Iranian government can “prosecute” users who are violating state laws and the Internet Filtering Committee can take offenders to national courts.
The government probably wants all its plans in place before June when there is going to be a presidential election. It is expected that the government will try to switch off the Internet to stop people complaining about the status quo and organising opposition.
Iran claims to have repelled a fresh cyber attack on its industrial units in a southern province.
A local civil defence official said that “enemies” of the country had been carrying out nonstop attacks against its infrastructure.
The ISNA news agency quoted Ali Akbar Akhavan as saying that the virus had penetrated some manufacturing industries in Hormuzgan province, but thanks to the efforts of some skilled Iranian hackers its progress was halted.
Akhavan claimed that the malware was “Stuxnet-like” but did not elaborate. The virus had been placed inside machines over “past few months.”
Iran is a little sensitive about malware attacks after Stuxnet, knocked out a big chunk of Iran’s uranium enrichment operation.
IN this case the virus targeted Bandar Abbas Tavanir, which oversees electricity production and distribution in Hormuzgan and adjacent provinces.
However there is a lot of information in the announcement. It is not clear when the attacks started to happen, how the virus was spread and what damage it did.
According to Security Week, the matter was made muddier because soon after Akhavan’s announcement has been swiftly denied by er Akhavan himself. He claimed that he only held the press conference we announced readiness to confront cyber-attacks against Hormuzgan installations, which was mistakenly reported by the agencies as a cyber-attack having been foiled.
Iran blames the US and Israel for nearly every cyber attack that happens in the country. In April, it said a voracious virus attack had hit computers running key parts of its oil sector and succeeded in wiping data off official servers.
Desperate for a reason to invade Iran, the US military establishment is using its latest bugbear of cyber warfare as its latest pretext.
Last week the US military warned that it could act to stop a cyber war and Defence Secretary Leon E. Panetta said that the United States was at risk of a “cyber-Pearl Harbor.” This followed early mutterings that cyber war could be could be countered with conventional weaponry a year ago.
Now according to the New York Times, US spooks have claimed that Iran was the place of origin of a serious wave of network attacks that crippled computers across the Saudi oil industry and breached financial institutions in the United States.
Instead of weapons of mass destruction, US spooks have focused on a “cybercorps” that Iran’s military created in 2011. This was partly in response to American and Israeli cyberattacks on the Iranian nuclear enrichment plant at Natanz.
The attacks emanating from Iran have been modest and the country is a lot weaker than China and Russia. But the US does not want desperately to go to war with China or Russia.
However the US does feel the need to get involved anytime that oil is mentioned.. The biggest hack was on Saudi Aramco, the world’s largest oil company. The War on Iraq was against the Saudi’s enemies and an oil rival and now it seems that that the Saudis are not big fans of Iran either.
Aramco, the Saudi state oil company, has been bolstering supplies to customers who can no longer obtain oil from Iran because of Western sanctions.
Tehran is claiming that its move to block access to Google and Gmail is in reaction to an anti-Islam film that triggered protests across the world.
The movie, Innocence of Muslims, which appears to have been created to start riots in Arab countries, has placed Google in a position where Iran wanted. The Iranians had wanted a pretext to ban Google from Iran for a while, but really did not have a good reason until YouTube refused to take down the anti-Islam film.
Now the Iranian government can safely say they are saving Iranians from the evil Satanic Google.
According to the Guardian, Abdolsamad Khoramabadi, an Iranian official with the state-run body in charge of online censorship and computer crimes, said that Google and Gmail will be filtered throughout the country until further notice.
He did not indicate if the filtering would be temporary or permanent, however smart money is on a total ban. The Iranians are currently planning to pull their country out of the Internet and run the nation as a big Intranet of state controlled information. Google and its webmail operation would have no place in such a scheme anyway.
Iranians do not really care that much about the movie, according to the Guardian, but are a bit miffed that they have lost their Gmail accounts.
Golnaz Esfandiari, who has a blog on the Radio Free Europe website, Persian Letters, tweeted: “By blocking Gmail/Google, #Iran government punishes its own people over anti-Islam movie. Most Iranians have not seen it/don’t care.”
But the move comes just as the Iranians move to stage one of their cunning Internet plan.
Ali Hakim-Javadi, deputy communications and technology minister, according to the semi-official Mehr news agency said that all governmental agencies and offices have been connected to the national information network.
Iran is worried about another outside cyber attack, particularly if it gets involved in a war with Israel or the US.
The Iranian government has come up with a novel method of dealing with the US and Israeli government attempts to take its key departments offline by disconnecting them the world wide web.
According to the International Business Times, the Iranian government is taking key ministries and state agencies offline in the next month in a bid to protect sensitive information from cyber-attacks.
Lately the country has suffered from some high-profile attacks which have targeted Iran’s nuclear and oil facilities. Both attacks were carried out by the US government, according to a New York Times leak, working in conjunction with the Israeli government.
Now it seems that Reza Taghipour, Iran’s telecommunications minister, has decided that it is easier to protect sensitive intelligence by getting off the world wide web.
He said that the internet was untrustworthy because it was controlled by “one or two” countries hostile to Iran.
Taghipour told a conference at Tehran’s Amir Kabir University that Iranian spooks will create a situation where the precious intelligence of the country won’t be accessible to these powers. We guess he just means someone will pull a plug.
Iran wants to replace the web completely with a national intranet within the next 18 months. But in the meanwhile the plan is to take state agencies offline as the first step.
Of course it will not work that well. Stuxnet was actually installed manually into computer networks using a flash drive. If the Iranian government does get its intranet set up, it will contain any malware inside the country. The CIA and Mossad will not have to worry about infecting any allies as any malware will stay inside the Iranian network.
Israeli spooks with credit card shaped USBs are being blamed for key display panel production technology of Samsung and LG leaking overseas.
The Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office has fingered the collar of three Korean workers at the Korean branch of Orbotech.
Orbotech is an Israeli company which supplies display testing equipment.
According to the Korea Times, the three have been charged with leaking the technologies of Samsung Mobile Display and LG Display to China.
The technology included Samsung’s active-matrix organic light-emitting diode (AMOLED) and LG’s White-OLED (WOLED) displays, including circuit diagrams.
Another three employees of the subcontractor were also charged but were not immediately jailed.
All six were also charged with violating a contractual agreement with Samsung and LG to keep any secrets obtained through business.
Orbotech’s Korean branch will be charged as a corporation.
Amongst the shopping list of tech taken was that for 55-inch television production. The data was saved on USBs that looked like credit cards.
While they checked the testing equipment at Samsung and LG’s panel production lines, they filmed the diagrams for 55-inch tellies.
They saved the information on the USBs, which they hid in their shoes, belts or wallets.
They allegedly delivered the technology to employees of Orbotech’s Israeli headquarters.
Prosecutors think that the data may have been sold on to China.
Whistleblowing organisation Wikileaks has published 5 million emails, thought to have been taken by Anonymous, from the global intelligence company Stratfor.
Wikileaks said in a statement that the company “fronts as an intelligence publisher, but provides confidential intelligence services to large corporations, such as Bhopal’s Dow Chemical Co., Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon and government agencies, including the US Department of Homeland Security, the US Marines and the US Defense Intelligence Agency.”
One of the emails, from CEO George Friedman, allegedly gave instruction to another analyst on how to extort information from an Israeli intelligence informant about Hugo Chavez: “You have to take control of him,” he said. “Control means financial, sexual or psychological control.”
One reason Stratfor appears dangerous is because it is a private company which also acts as a securities agency for governments, allegedly using an extensive network of paid informants. Wikileaks claims that Stratfor staff influence policy makers in the States and feed in tips to Israel’s secret services, Mossad. Stratfor is also alleged to have made “secret deals” with “dozens” of news outlets, including Reuters and the Guardian. Wikileaks public figurehead Julian Assange has openly traded blows with the Guardian in the past.
Wikileaks also claims that Stratfor maintains close ties with ex Goldman Sachs bigwig Shea Morenz, who is workign with Friedman to build a ‘new’ company called StratCap – which will reportedly rely on Stratfor’s informants to generate profits while trading in government bonds and currencies. Morenz is on the board.
The full list of emails is available on Wikileaks’ Global Intellegence Files page, here. Wikileaks believes that dedicated members of the public will sift through the millions of files to unearth more news.
Israel has said that it will respond with military force if any of its companies are hacked.
The nation has said that it will respond to cyber-attacks in the same way it responds to violent “terrorist” acts.
This will mean that if Anonymous hits an Israeli company it can expect Israeli commandos to parachute into the area they live and hit the local school with white phosphorous grenades before buggering off. Otherwise, they could wake up in the morning with their house surrounded by a large wall, with cops at the gate who will not let them go to work in the morning.
It is all because a hacker named OxOmar, claiming to be Saudi, said last week he had leaked the private information on 6,000 Israeli credit cards.
While that should mean that the Israelis should be training to parachute into Saudi as we speak, it appears that OxOmar might be a 19-year-old living in Mexico.
Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon told the Beeb that he knew OxOmar is living in Mexico but had not approached Mexican coppers to ask for help. They might have their hands full with drugs barons who cut people’s heads off to be too worried about Israeli credit cards.
However, Ayalon said that cyber-attacks are a breach of sovereignty comparable to a terrorist operation, and must be treated as such.
“Israel has active capabilities for striking at those who are trying to harm it, and no agency or hacker will be immune from retaliatory action,” he added, without giving further details.
OxOmar might want to avoid any blind dates with stunning Israeli women in the next year or so. If Mossad follows its usual plan he could end up drugged and on a plane to Jerusalem. Flying to Uganda might not be such a good idea either, as Israeli commandos already know the way there.
Israel’s military and spook’s websites services have been downed by a hacker group which was miffed over over the interception of a Gaza-bound flotilla.
The sites of the Israel Defence Forces, the Shin Bet domestic intelligence agency and the Mossad foreign intelligence service were all unavailable through the day and into the evening.
According to Dawn.com, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office insisted that the problem was caused by a technical glitch rather than by hackers.
Ofir Gendelman, a Netanyahu spokesman, wrote in a posting on Twitter that it was a server malfunction, not as a result of a cyber attack so there was nothing to see here, move on please.
It seems to us that the spinner is underestimating the computing expertise of his own military. Having seen some of the security that goes into Israeli military systems we would not have thought that they could all be knocked out by a server fault.
It also failed to mention that the websites’ problems came after “hacktivist” group Anonymous posted on YouTube, to threaten the Israeli government with retaliation over its interception of two Gaza-bound ships.
Boats carrying 27 activists, crew and journalists were intercepted in international waters before they could breach Israel’s blockade on the Palestinian territory.
The video, entitled “An open letter from Anonymous to the Government of Israel,” said that Israel was guilty of “piracy on the high seas.”
If Anonymous did manage to attack Israel’s military servers it is a bit of a result. Normally its method of choice is a denial of service attack, which we would have thought the Israelis could have handled.
The fact that Netanyahu’s office felt the need to deny the hacks probably indicates that it was a little more serious than a denial of service attack.