Iran thwarts hacking attempt, starts operating national information network

August 28, 2016 - 21:1

TEHRAN – The head of the Information Technology Organization of Iran revealed on Sunday Iran had thwarted a hacking attempt which he described as "heavy” just two weeks before the National Information Network went online.  

“Generally, all networks around the world are exposed to hacking attempts. Not being an exception, Iran’s network was target to a heavy hacking attempt about two weeks ago, limiting the international interactions of two or three of our internet providers” said Nasrollah Jahangard. 
The official did not give details on the targets of the attack, if it had caused any losses, or the identity of the hackers. 
The National Information Network which became operational on Sunday will shield the country against similar attempts and other threats in the future as it provides a more secure cyberspace for Iranian operators, the official explained. 
“Security was our major focus while designing the National Information Network.” 
A national information network specially contributes to a secure SWIFT system, among others, through which financial and monetary transactions are conducted. 
“Network stability is a key component, and given that 67 percent of cybercrimes happen in the financial and monetary sector, we have benefitted from an anti-fishing capability in the network so as to stop misuses,” said Jahangard. 
Iran has recently re-connected to the SWIFT system after it forged a deal with the West over its nuclear program in July 2015. 
The national data cloud also helps Tehran shore up security measures at nuclear and military sites. 
In 2010, a computer virus code-named Stuxnet was used, allegedly developed by the U.S. and Israel, to attack the Natanz uranium enrichment facility in Iran. 
Ever since then, the country has been upgrading its cyber security capabilities, developing homegrown firewalls for its sensitive facilities, including nuclear, military, and economy sites.