Iran to 'Limit the Internet' Over Alleged Cyberattack
An Iranian woman uses a computer at a cybercafe.
CREDIT: U.S. State Department
In response to an alleged attack on Iran's digital infrastructure today (Oct. 3), a government official said the country would be "forced" to "limit the Internet" in order to mitigate unwanted "slowness."
Last week, the Islamic republic cut citizens' access to Gmail and the secure version of Google Search. Gmail has since been restored, but the country is notorious for routinely, if intermittently, blocking social networking and information-sharing sites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. (YouTube is currently blocked.)
"We have constant cyber attacks in the country. Yesterday an attack with a traffic of several gigabytes hit the Internet infrastructure, which caused an unwanted slowness in the country's Internet," Mehdi Akhavan Behabadi, secretary of the High Council of Cyberspace, told the Iranian Labor News Agency according to Reuters. "All of these attacks have been organized. And they have in mind the country's nuclear, oil and information networks."
Still, Iran presses on with its nuclear ambitions. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly called for the United States and the United Nations to establish a "red line" that Iran must not cross in its development program without the threat of military action.
At the same time, Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) has suggested that Iran's government-backed hackers are behind last month's distributed denial-of-service attacks aimed at the websites of the United States' biggest banks.
Western critics have also accused the Iranian regime of using security threats as an excuse to clamp down on tools and sites that help political demonstrators organize.
Iran claims that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only, but Israel, the United States and other Western powers suspect that the country has ambitions for a nuclear bomb.
Reuters also reported scuffles today between police and protestors on Tehran's streets over the rapid decline of Iran's currency, which has lost a third of its value against the dollar in just one week.