Iranian Cyber Army is an Iranian computer hacker group. Iranian Cyber Army is thought to be connected to Iranian government, although it is not officially recognized as an entity by the government yet. In a message, they have pledged loyalty to Supreme Leader of Iran.
According to Tehran Bureau, plan for the formation of an Iranian Cyber Army was raised in the Revolutionary Guards in 2005. The group claimed responsibility for several attacks conducted over the Internet since 2009, most notably attacks against Baidu and Twitter.The attack against Baidu resulted in the so-called Sino-Iranian Hacker War.
In 2012, a group self-identified as “Parastoo” (Persian: پرستو; swallow) hacked International Atomic Energy Agency’s servers. Iranian Cyber Army is suspected to be behind the attack.
In 2013, a Revolutionary Guards general stated that Iran has “the 4th biggest cyber power among the world’s cyber armies.” The claim was acknowledged by Israeli think tank Institute for National Security Studies.
Cyberwarfare in Iran
Cyberwarfare in Iran is a part of Iran’s “Soft war” military strategy. Being both a victim and predator of cyberwarfare, Iran is considered an emerging military power in the field.
Since November 2010, an organization called “The Cyber Defense Command” (Persian: قرارگاه دفاع سایبری; Gharargah-e Defa-e Saiberi) has been operating in Iran under the supervision of the country’s “Passive Civil Defense Organization” (Persian: سازمان پدافند غیرعامل; Sazeman-e Padafand-e Gheyr-e Amel) which is itself a subdivision of the Joint Staff of Iranian Armed Forces.
According to a 2014 report by Institute for National Security Studies, Iran is “one of the most active players in the international cyber arena”.
In 2013, a Revolutionary Guards general stated that Iran has “the 4th biggest cyber power among the world’s cyber armies.”
Attacks against Iran
In June 2007, Iran was the victim of a cyber-attack when its nuclear facility in Natanz was infiltrated by the cyber-worm ‘Stuxnet’.
Reportedly a combined effort by the United States and Israel, Stuxnet destroyed perhaps over 1000 nuclear centrifuges and, according to a Business Insider article, “[set] Tehran’s atomic programme back by at least two years.”
The worm spread beyond the plant to allegedly infect over 60,000 computers, but the government of Iran indicates it caused no significant damage. Iran crowdsourced solutions to the worm and is purportedly now better positioned in terms of cyber warfare technology. No government has claimed responsibility for the worm.
In October 2013, media reported Mojtaba Ahmadi, who served as commander of the “Cyber War Headquarters” was found dead wounded by bullets in Karaj.
Attacks by Iran
The Iranian government has been accused by western analysts of its own cyber-attacks against the United States, Israel and Persian Gulf Arab countries, but deny this, including specific allegations of 2012 involvement in hacking into American banks. The conflict between Iran and the United States as been called “history’s first known cyber-war” by Michael Joseph Gross mid-2013.
A National Security Agency document leaked by Edward Snowden, reveals that Iranians may have learned from advanced sophisticated cyber-attacks by United States against them.
August 2014: An IDF official told press in that Iran has launched numerous significant attacks against Israel’s Internet infrastructure.
31 March 2015: Iranian hackers, possibly Iranian Cyber Army pushed a massive power outage for 12 hours in 44 of 81 provinces of Turkey, holding 40 million people. Istanbul and Ankara were among the places suffering blackout.