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Iran’s Ayatollah Khamenei Warns of Cyber Infiltration

In a speech given in front of a number of members of Iranian agencies including the heads of a number of agencies and civil defense, Ayatollah Khamenei warned of western infiltration.  The Ayatollah stated that “In the face of the enemy’s complex practices, our civil defense should…confront infiltration through scientific, accurate, and up-to-date action.” While he did not detail what he meant by “infiltration,” Iranian officials have shown concern for some time over western influences through entertainment, social media, and other electronic means. During the recent civil unrest in Iran, a number of officials believed that the West was behind propaganda and online messages which coordinated protesters.  This statement by the Ayatollah comes around the same time as another comment made by the head of Iran’s civil defense, Gholamreza Jalali, who claimed that his agency had recently uncovered and neutralized a new variant of the Stuxnet virus, which had previously done significant damage to an Iranian Uranium Enrichment Facility.  Earlier this month Jalali had stated that Iran was considering cutting off internet access throughout the country and instead going to a national network.  Following similar concerns in the past, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, IRGC, was found to be targeting applications utilized by Iranian citizens with spyware.

Analyst Notes

. It is possible that similar activity will be seen over the coming months as concern of online western influence grows.