Head of Iran’s Civil Defense Organization Brigadier General Gholam Reza Jalali said Washington has failed to sabotage the Islamic Republic’s nuclear facilities.
“Due to our cyber activities in the nuclear sector, the enemy has come to this conclusion that we can harness their threats. This is while (US President Barack) Obama thought that he could destroy all our nuclear facilities with Olympic code which he failed to do so,” Jalali said.
He reiterated that Iran’s Civil Defense Organization will respond to any possible threats instantaneously and for the same reason new civil defense centers have been set up across the country.
“Designing a legal cyber defense system at international level, a preparing cyber defense doctrine and preparing strategic estimates for cyber threats are among our projects currently underway,” Jalali said.
Earlier this year, a senior Iranian lawmaker strongly criticized Washington’s decision on launching cyber war against Iran, and termed the act as a clear violation of international law.
“Cyber war is a blatant violation of the international law, and, by issuing the order to launch a cyber attack against our country’s nuclear facilities, American officials once again proved that they do not comply with international laws,” member of the Iranian Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission Mohammad Saleh Jokar said in June.
In February, Rapporteur of the Iranian Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission Seyed Hossein Naqavi Hosseini pointed to numerous cyber attacks by the US against the websites of other countries which oppose its policies, and warned Washington against retaliatory measures by those states.
“After the fallacy of 9/11 scenario was revealed, today Washington seeks to revive it in the cyber space to pursue the long-term and short-term objectives of its foreign policy,” the lawmaker added.
In January, 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 condemns 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 has 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, Iran announced that it has 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 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, 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, last year, 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.
Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei tasked Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad with the duty of establishing a Supreme Council of Cyberspace.