On March 14, 2012, BBC reported that a “sophisticated cyber-attack” on the BBC had been linked to Iran’s efforts to disrupt the BBC Persian Service. Excerpts below:

In a speech Director General Mark Thompson planned to say that the internet attack coincided with efforts to jam two of the service’s satellite feeds into Iran.

He will say: “We regard the coincidence of these different attacks as self-evidently suspicious.”

Last month Mr Thompson accused Iran of intimidating Persian service workers.

Reporters Without Borders has also complained about Iran’s “cyber-army”.

Some parts of the BBC were unable to access email and other internet services on 1 March. It is understood that the attack may have been caused by its systems being overwhelmed by a flood of external communication requests – a so-called distributed denial-of-service attack.

The revelations follow Reporters Without Borders “Enemies of the Internet” report which was released at the start of the week.

The free-speech lobby group reported that Iran and some of the other countries on its register “censor internet access so effectively that they restrict their populations to local intranets that bear no resemblance to the world wide web.”

It added that Iran’s authorities were now capable of blocking ports used by virtual private networks designed to bypass the restrictions.

It also reported that at times of unrest the state had slowed internet connections speeds to make it impossible to send or receive photos or videos.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guard created a “cyber army” in 2010. Hundreds of net users have been arrested and some even sentenced to death.



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