Sci & Tech

Iran Repels Cyberattack Targeting Internet Backbone

Iran Repels Cyberattack Targeting Internet Backbone
Iran Repels Cyberattack Targeting Internet Backbone

A cyberattack targeted Iran’s communication infrastructure, causing widespread disruptions in internet connections throughout the country, an ICT Ministry official says.

Sajjad Bonabi, a high-ranking official with the ICT Ministry, wrote on Twitter that a cyberattack at 11:44 a.m. local time disrupted internet services in Iran for an hour, but “the distributed denial-of-service [DDoS] attack was repelled by Iran’s Digital Fortress [Dejfa in Persian]”.

Bonabi tells Financial Tribune, “No sign of state sponsorship of the attack has been detected yet.”

“The attack's sources and destinations were highly distributed. Spoofed source IPs from East Asia and North America were used in the DDoS attack,” he added.

IP spoofing is the creation of Internet Protocol packets that have a modified source address to either hide the identity of the sender, to impersonate another computer system, or both.

A DDoS attack is a malicious attempt to disrupt normal traffic of a targeted server, service or network by overwhelming the target or its surrounding infrastructure with a flood of internet traffic.

Internet watchdog website NetBlocks confirmed the disruption on Twitter, posting, “Internet partially shut down #Iran from 11:45 a.m. local time; real-time network data show national connectivity fell to 75% after authorities reportedly activated ‘Digital Fortress’ isolation mechanism.”

Over the past few months, Iranian officials have cautioned that the frequency and intensity of cyberattacks against Iran have surged. In December 2019, a major cyberattack was reported by the Iranian government.

Head of Iran IT Organization Amir Nazemi at the time said, “Hackers targeted Iranian government bodies using APT27 in cyberattacks that were detected and repelled by Iran's Digital Fortress,” adding that he is unable to disclose whether the attacks were state-sponsored.

In May, a cybersecurity project codenamed Digital Fortress (Dejfa in Persian) was unveiled by ICT Minister Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi to shield the country from increasing cyber threats targeting Iran’s infrastructure and online businesses.

Digital Fortress aims to protect citizens’ privacy, deter cyberattacks on infrastructure, help sustain digital services, combat data breaches and online fraud, as well as detect malware in the network and stop its spread.

Jahromi said, “Digital Fortress has been developed with an investment of 200 billion rials ($1.4 million) and includes 10 subprojects. The operational costs of the system will amount to 300 billion rials ($2.1 million).”

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