Iran vs. China in Cyber War

Iran vs. China in Cyber War
Written by Adam Gonn
Published Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Chinese hackers incapacitate Iranian government websites in retaliation for Iranian attacks.

Several Iranian state websites have been taken down by Chinese hackers in retaliation for Iranian attacks on China’s biggest search engine.

The websites of Iran’s supreme leader and president along with those of the ministries of defense and foreign affairs were all brought down by Chinese hackers,

referring to themselves as the Honker Union, in revenge for an attack on China’s Baidu site earlier this week.

An Iranian group, the Iranian Cyber Army, claimed responsibility for the sabotage of Baidu in response to Chinese web users’ support for Iran’s opposition movement.

“The solidarity and support for the people in Iran has been limited to statements,” Iranian opposition blogger Potkin Azarmehr told The Media Line. “But this is the first cyberspace help from outside Iran on behalf of those who support the green movement.”

“It’s just more evidence to show how important cyberspace is

to what’s going on in Iran,” he said. “This is probably the first revolution where it’s not just a struggle on the streets but also across cyberspace.”

“It’s a cat and mouse game,” Azarmehr said. “Sometimes the pro-green [opposition] people have the upper hand and sometimes the government has the upper hand.”

Azarmehr said Iran’s reformist movement had received positive

support from Chinese netcitizens.

“When we talk about censorship… or when we write about the Chinese government’s support of [Iranian President Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad and the administration,” he said, “we have Chinese supporters who express sympathy.”

Azarmehr also referred to the Chinese Falun Gong’s support of their Iranian counterparts by sharing their program for circumventing official website filtering systems.

Kourosh Ziabari, another Iranian blogger, echoed Azarmehr’s sentiments.

“Interaction between people on both sides is building up,” he told T

he Media Line. “It has happened a number of times that people from China have left comments [on my blog] expressing their ideas on what we write.”

Chinese and Iranian bloggers have been engaged in an intense debate online since a Chinese daily referred to the Gulf as the Arabian Gulf and not the Persian Gulf, causing offence to some Iranians.

Relations between China and Iran have grown stronger on the governmental level over the last couple of years, mainly due to growing economic cooperation and common skepticism over Western foreign policies.

China, which has veto power in the United Nations Security Council, is often cited as one of the biggest stumbling blocs in international attempts to impose sanctions on Iran’s over its nuclear program.

The discussion thread CN4Iran, China for Iran, began appearing on the micro-blogging site Twitter last month. By adding #CN4Iran to their messages, Chinese users supporting the Iranian opposition movement began attracting Iranian bloggers’ attention.

“I suspect Baidu was hacked because they are aware of # CN4Iran support of #iranelection,” MsVFAB wrote on Twitter. “They hacked Twitter last time.”

“It's been 4 hrs since was hacked by Iranian Cyber

Army,” LEMONed wrote on Twitter. “CN state-ctrled media says domain reg info was doctored by US registrar.”

“Tell them this: Iranian Cyber Army, since you took down Baidu, my life has been a mess, I can't get on Twitter,” lianyue wrote on Twitter. “We Chinese beg you to spare us.”


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