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Civil Defense Chief: Iran Concealing Part of Military Might From Enemy

23 October 2016 15:10

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Head of Iran’s Civil Defense Organization Brigadier General Gholam Reza Jalali said the Iranian Armed Forces have kept a part of the achievements and capabilities in the dark to surprise the enemy if ever the country is pushed into battle.

Addressing a conference in Tehran on Sunday, General Jalali said “displaying power is only a component of power, and power should be displayed to take enemies away from delusional perception of its own and Iran’s might”.

General Jalali reiterated that sustainable security in Iran is the outcome of continued efforts in the field of military and civil defense. “Our politicians are happy and smile because they rely on this defensive power.”

“Yet, a part of our military capabilities should remain secret to take the enemies by surprise. The fact that our enemies have taken ground offensive against us off the table is not due to political smiles, but because of our strong military defense on land,” he added.

He said that different kinds of threats are taking place against Iran and such threats are constantly changing.

“Today we cannot avoid using the cyberspace and on the other hand we cannot be heedless about its threats, therefore we should intelligently consider them,” General Jalali added.

In mid-August, General Jalali warned of the danger posed by the US, Israel and Saudi Arabia against the country’s cyber space.

“Certain countries, including the US, Israel and Saudi Arabia, threaten us in the cyber field,” General Jalali said, addressing the 4th Cyber Defense Forum in Tehran.

“Saudi Arabia makes many such attempts,” he added.

Jalali, meantime, stressed that Iranian experts have also adopted proper measures to confront enemies’ threats in the cyber space, and said the first-layer vulnerabilities have been identified to prevent the repetition of the past cyber attacks.

A group of Saudi hackers launched cyber attacks on a number of Iranian government websites in May, but failed to incur major damage.

“Saudi Arabia sought to materialize its threats through such attacks but it was mostly a type of show-off,” General Jalali told FNA.

“These attacks were carried out on the first layer and didn’t inflict heavy damage,” the civil defense chief added.

Jalali said that the Saudi hackers couldn’t change anything more than a page and failed to go any deeper.

Reports said in May that the websites of the Statistical Center of Iran and the country’s Organization for Registration of Deeds and Property were hacked, but experts fixed them soon.

In relevant remarks in October 2013, Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan warned of enemies’ possible plots to wage a cyber war against the country.

“Today the area of threat has expanded to all angles and dimensions; throughout the history war has been taken from land to sea and then to the sky and space, and today its has come to the internet and cyber space,” Dehqan said, addressing a conference on Civil Defense in Tehran.

“The cyber war is serious; today, information technology has been institutionalized in all bodies and the enemy come in control over this system, it may destroy it,” he added.

In January 2013, Iran’s mission at the United Nations criticized the US for its involvement in cyber attacks against Tehran, and stressed that Iran respects international laws and regulations against the use of malwares against other nations’ economic sectors.

In a statement issued at the time, the mission said Iran condemned any use of malware that target important institutes by violating the national sovereignty of states.

“Unlike the United States, which has, per reports in the media, given itself the license to engage in illegal cyber-warfare against Iran, Iran respects the international law and refrains from targeting other nations’ economic or financial institutions,” the statement read.

It also rejected claims that Iran had allegedly orchestrated cyber attacks on the US financial institutions, and said, “We believe that raising such groundless accusations are aimed at sullying Iran’s image and fabricating pretexts to push ahead with and step up illegal actions against the Iranian nation and government.”

In December 2012, Iran announced that it had thwarted a second cyber attack on one of its Culture Ministry institutes.

The cyber attack, originated from the US city of Dallas via switches in Malaysia and Vietnam, had targeted the information center of the Culture Ministry’s Headquarters for Supporting and Protecting Works of Art and Culture.

The attack was repelled by the headquarters’ experts.

In the last few years, various Iranian industrial, nuclear and government bodies have recently come under growing cyber attacks, widely believed to be designed and staged by the US and Israel.

In April 2012, a similar attack was carried out against Iran’s oil ministry. According to the oil ministry, the cyber attack was carried out through a virus penetration that damaged users’ hard disks, but failed. Senior Iranian oil ministry officials later announced that their computer systems resumed normal operation.

A few days later hackers failed to penetrate into the Iranian Science Ministry’s computer network.

“Despite the frequent efforts made by hackers, the cyber attack has failed to leave any impact on the data system,” a statement released by the Ministry of Science, Research and Technology said.

It further praised the proper measures and full preparedness of the relevant departments at the science ministry for repelling the attack.

Wide-scale cyber attacks on Iranian facilities started in 2010 after the US and Israel tried to disrupt the operation of Iran’s nuclear facilities through a worm which later came to be known as Stuxnet.

US intelligence officials revealed in April 2012 that the Stuxnet malware was not only designed to disrupt Iran’s nuclear program, but was part of a wider campaign directed from Israel that included the assassination of the country’s nuclear scientists.

Stuxnet is the first discovered worm that spies on and reprograms industrial systems. It is specifically written to attack SCADA systems which are used to control and monitor industrial processes.

In September 2012, the Islamic Republic said that the computer worm of Stuxnet infected 30,000 IP addresses in Iran, but it denied the reports that the cyber worm had damaged computer systems at the country’s nuclear power plants.

Iranian top security officials have urged the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to detect the agents involved in Stuxnet computer worm attack on Iran.

In April 2012, Iran announced that it has discovered the Stars virus that is being used as a tool to commit espionage.

That was the second cyber attack waged by enemies of Iran to undermine the country’s nuclear as well as economic and industrial activities.

Security software manufacturer Symantec said parts of the Duqu code base are nearly identical to the infamous Stuxnet worm, “but with a completely different purpose.”

Iran announced in November, 2011 that it had developed a software program that can control the Duqu spyware.

After wide-scale cyber attacks on Iranian facilities, including its nuclear sites, Iranian officials started planning a proper and well-concerted line of defense against virus attacks.

In March 2012, the Islamic Republic of Iran announced plans to strengthen its cyber power by establishing a Supreme Council of Cyberspace to defend the country against cyber attacks.

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