Following in the footsteps of the Pentagon’s Cyber Command, Iran released plans to launch its own cyber policing unit, The Associated Press reported.
Iran’s Cyber Army, rumored to have Revolutionary Guard affiliation, begins its mission this month. The army will monitor the Net for traces of political opposition and cyber attacks.
Calling it part of a “soft war,” Iran seeks to use cyber policing as a tool to root out traces of Western cultural and maintain an advantage over opposition groups in cyberspace.
On a more defensive front, the Cyber Army is tasked with avoiding another Stuxnet-like computer worm invasion. Iran’s last encounter with Stuxnet may have compromised its uranium enrichment program.
Evidence of Cyber Army activity is beginning to trickle in. It’s suspected of blocking access to reform group sites and hacking Baidu, a Chinese search engine, Twitter, Farsi1, and the web start-up blog TechCrunch Europe.
Concern is growing over potential Cyber Army botnets used to spread malware.
Many experts believe Iran’s cyber-policing unit will be ineffective, arguing Iran lacks knowledgeable hackers willing to work for the government.
“It’s a first response and a logical one by Iran,” Jeffrey Carr, a cyber intelligence expert and consultant to U.S. and other governments on cyber defenses, told the AP. “But it doesn’t really mean much to prevent attacks. It’s the cyber equivalent to eating right, taking your vitamins and hoping you don’t get sick.”