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Features of the information war against Iran
Material posted: Publication date: 11-03-2012

In the context of exploring new forms, methods and techniques of information warfare is of interest, the developments related to the settlement of the situation around Iran's nuclear program. The analysis of the developments shows that the scenario information and psychological operations to discredit the political power of some of the objectionable countries, used the USA and their allies during previous armed conflicts and the "Arab spring" have similar features and are carried out using classical schemes.

The purposes of this policy, as a rule, are:

the provision of global domination and consolidation of positions into a profitable, primarily based on the availability of natural resources, the region of the world;

  • raising the rating of certain political forces and their leaders on the eve of crucial elections;
  • the rationale for increasing military expenditure and development of military-industrial complexes;
  • and validation of new depletion of (cheap disposal) of obsolete weapons, and other aspirations.

Direct the conduct of military operations in most cases is preceded by the step of forming desired public opinion on the need to resolve the "problem" of the situation by force. Characteristic features of this period are:

  • massive information influence the largest Western media on the public of their countries, as well as the population and personnel of the armed forces of the perceived enemy (the creation of the image of the "enemy");
  • accusatory statements of well-known politicians about the alleged absence in a country of democratic rights and freedoms, discrimination of ethnic minorities, the involvement of "modes" to the creation of weapons of mass destruction, the proliferation of arms in circumvention of international treaties, support of terrorist organizations, etc.;
  • initiating consideration of such issues at the level of the General Assembly and the Security Council of the UN and other international organizations, the use of the ultimate forms of exposure;
  • misinformation to the public about the true situation on the background of the spread of a non-existent "expert" assessments, edited photo and video, and information of a deterrent nature;
  • the use of hidden methods of manipulation information and public opinion, spreading rumors, etc.

Measures of information-psychological influence are amplified and accompanied with economic sanctions, dramatization (provoking) civil disobedience, mass rallies and demonstrations, conducting special commando (terrorist) actions on the territory of a potential enemy, a show of force and willingness to conduct a military operation (military exercises, a hidden concentration of groups of troops and weapons), and use of provocations.

Information warfare as part of the development of the situation around Iran is a similar scenario, but at the same time has its own characteristics. The emphasis is thus placed on the components in which potential opponents of the Islamic state have a significant advantage, namely the cyber sphere, as well as the actions of special forces and psychological operations.

So, Iranian information system, relevant to national nuclear program, are under attack by the highly effective viruses. The first one, using the Stuxnet virus, was carried out in June 2010 and was aimed at disrupting the work of the Bushehr nuclear power plant and enterprises for uranium enrichment. In particular, a military plant at Natanz was faced with serious technical problems affecting the operation of gas centrifuges. As a result, according to experts, nuclear work Tehran were relegated two years ago.

Unlike typical malicious software Stuxnet virus aimed at systems that are usually not connected to the Internet for security reasons. It spreads through USB ports through infected media. Once in the car, inbound to the internal network of the company, the virus defines a specific configuration software of industrial control. After this code can change the content of the so-called PLC (programmable logic control) and give connected to network industrial equipment new commands. If the virus software does not detect a specific configuration, it remains relatively harmless.

The greatest difficulty with the use of Stuxnet is its coding, and the number of applied and consolidated in a single "package" of different techniques, in particular the ability to "hide" inside a PLC and the use of six different methods for the virus to spread. In addition, for penetration into the information system it uses several vulnerabilities in Windows, the so-called "zero-day vulnerability" (a zero-day exploits). Usually, virus developers are one such vulnerability.

Second home invasion took place in April 2011 (the virus got the name Stars) and was directed against state institutions of Iran, which, according to experts in the field of computer security, was the preparations for the third attack of the virus Duqu, designed to steal confidential information.

To the email address of one of the organizations undergoing the attack of the virus Duqu, received a letter from a certain Jason B. allegedly with a business proposition. It contained a document in Microsoft Word format, the name of which contained the name of the recipient, which indicates that for each goal individually designed special set of applications (a total of 12 goals have been identified). Malicious activation of the software product occurred after opening a text document and Microsoft Word displaying certain fonts text file. However, to function the program was started only after they became convinced that the computer is not used for more than 10 minutes. After activation, the virus was provided the ability to remotely install on the infected computer to program and read information from it and send the virus to other users on the network.

In the same context should indicate the recent publication in the American and Israeli media on the multi-year training of the armed forces of Israel to war with Iran by using high tech electronic and cybernetic weapons. Citing sources in American intelligence agencies indicates that in the event of hostilities, Israel will not be limited to missile strikes and raids, and will damage the important objects of military and state infrastructures, for which it is appropriate technology.

During the invasion the Israeli air force into Syrian airspace, undertaken on 6 September 2007 with the aim of destruction having to do with a secret nuclear development facility, the Israelis were able to block the radars of the Syrian air defense. This, in turn, allowed the Israeli air force Syrian air to cross the border undetected. The approval of the Kuwaiti publication Al Watan, experts still can not determine, how the Israelis were able to block the radar. One of these radars, located near Damascus, the other – closer to the Syrian-Turkish border. What is known is that the impact on them was so powerful that the disturbance was felt in the means of communication not only Syria, but also neighbouring Israel, Lebanon and Turkey.

However, quite successful asymmetric response to actions taken by the U.S. and Israel in the context of information warfare and in particular the information technology component was the capture of Iranian American professionals of the apparatus unmanned Lockheed Martin RQ-170 Sentinel. By the combination of effects is several times higher than some irregularities in the functioning of the Bushehr nuclear power plant and enterprises for uranium enrichment. In this incident the US not only lost control over a number of sensitive technologies, but also confirmed the presence of vulnerabilities in American-protected communication lines and control for military purposes.

Since 2008, Iraqi insurgents were able to intercept video from U.S. UAVs, used on the territory of the country. Due to this, the Iraqis were able to obtain important information about the operations of the U.S. armed forces and intelligence. To capture video from a UAV was used-the-shelf software purchased through the Internet.

For the first time about this vulnerability became known in the 1990s, during the military operations in Bosnia, but the U.S. military leadership has not taken any proactive measures, believing that "local resistance will never know how this vulnerability is to use". In addition, the installation of equipment for the encryption of communication channels requires the installation of additional equipment on the UAV, which have significant limitations the payload.

It should be noted that the US leadership ignored the fact that Iran today is a dynamically developing community media, therefore, does not remain without attention of the regional mass media, including electronic. During these interviews, briefings, and other informational actions fully utilized the resources of such media companies as BBC (especially its Persian BBC), "Voice of America" and the power of social networks Twitter, Facebook, YouTube video sharing, etc.

In particular, the BBC Persian TV channel with millions of viewers in Iran, has its own radio, and the Internet-the website of BBC Persian is one of the most popular information resources in the middle East.

In addition, in December 2011, the United States opened its so-called "virtual Embassy in Iran". On the relevant web site was posted information about U.S. policy toward Iran, about study opportunities in the United States, as well as the opportunity to apply for a U.S. visa. At the same time, the resource was able to work less days, after which access was blocked by the Iranian authorities.

According to the U.S. Department of state, before closing access to the site in its English version was registered in 2001 a visit from Iran, a resource in Farsi visited 7770 Iranian users. In total, the English web page of the Embassy was attended by almost 50 thousand users.

The leadership of Iran has also made repeated attempts block access for their citizens and to other online resources and services, and also satellite television channel BBC Persian.

Perhaps anticipating a reaction, you may encounter the United States from Iran, at the opening ceremony of the "virtual Embassy in Iran" assistant Secretary of state for political Affairs W. Sherman noted that the United States will try to circumvent the possible locking of this resource by the Iranian authorities. In her words, "the United States has invested considerable resources in educating people all over the world methods of bypass of locks created by the virtual private networks that allow you to circumvent bans on Internet access".

Quite an important feature in the context of information warfare is the fact that fully repeated in the Iran scenario of the "Arab spring" the US and its allies is hampered by the position occupied by the Iranian opponents of the official power in relation to the possibility of providing foreign aid. Even during the mass protests of 2009 against the rigged results of the presidential elections, the organizers urged the international community not to get involved in what is happening, because they believed that the external intervention undermines the idea of such protests, holding their parties in the eyes of the Iranian public as "accomplices of the West."

So, on October 27, 2011 U.S. Secretary of state Hillary Clinton in an interview with the Persian service of BBC News and "Voice of America" urged the Iranian opposition to further strengthen broad international support. In particular, it was otmecheno that the organizers of the summer protests of 2009 in Iran was wrong, refusing to seek support for their actions abroad.

In the framework of informational-psychological effects are of interest for the attack on Iran and other. Simultaneously with the statements of the officers of the American and Israeli leadership on the need for on-site Islamic state of active intelligence and subversive activities has been a series of terrorist attacks aimed at the destruction of nuclear and military infrastructure, as well as Iranian nuclear scientists, and representatives of the military leadership.

According to media reports, in the period from 2007 to 2012 in Iran killed five scientists engaged in research in nuclear physics. Another scientist-a nuclear scientist Fereydoon Abbasi during the assassination attempt were injured, but survived and later was appointed head of the Iranian atomic energy Agency.

November 12, 2011 as a result of two explosions at a munitions depot in Bigdamage, killing 27 people, including General of the Islamic revolutionary guards Corps, Hassan Moghaddam, who was considered one of the key figures in the military sphere of the country, and the base was virtually destroyed.

November 28, 2011, another explosion occurred on the territory of nuclear centre in Isfahan, where there were centrifuges for uranium enrichment.

December 12, 2011 an explosion occurred at the plant in Yazd province. Despite the fact that the company was positioned as metallurgical, Israeli media connected with the processing of uranium.

It is noteworthy that in the United States in support of the special subversive activities in the territory of another country acted as presidential candidates from the Republican and democratic parties as well as influential American non-profit organization Bipartisan Policy Center (established in 2007 by representatives of the democratic and Republican parties of the USA for the development of coherent policy in the field of national security, healthcare, energy, etc.) that developed recommendations to guide U.S. actions against Iran.

In particular, one of the favorites of the presidential election campaign, the Republican former speaker of the house of representatives of the U.S. Congress N. Gingrich offered "to organize a secret sabotage of Iran's largest refinery". He stressed that, should he become President, will make such attacks "every day."

In turn, the other potential candidate is a Republican R. Santorum said that if elected he would authorize covert operations in which Russian nuclear physicists involved in work on Iran's nuclear program, would be preventively eliminated by U.S. intelligence agencies.

As part of the "demonization" of the current Iranian leadership on the international stage, the United States and Israel continued to press charges against Iran to support international terrorist organizations, as well as the preparation and conduct of terrorist attacks against the US, Israel and their allies.

In this context it should be pointed and manipulation of the IAEA report on the Iranian nuclear dossier. When his analysis revealed serious contradictions. In addition, the document contains no new information and the report itself is based on the materials provided by Western intelligence services who discredited the accusations against Iraq allegedly possessed, they claim, weapons of mass destruction.

It should also be noted that, strongly discouraging Iran from the development and implementation of its national nuclear program, the United States and Israel ignores or completely ignore the fact that the United States first gave the country nuclear technology.

It is worth Recalling that in 1967 the US gave the Shah of Iran, the nuclear reactor of 5 MW, which established experts from the Israeli atomic centers in Dimona and Sorek.

Simultaneously with the formation of the image of Iran as a threat to the international community, the US and its allies devote considerable attention to the dissemination of information intimidating nature aimed at both the Iranian military and political leadership and the population. In this case as a means of pressure used the fact of a possibility of a military solution to "problems".

So, on 27 September 2011 the Ambassador of France to the UN Jean d'aro noted that Iran could become a target for military operation if you don't stop development of its nuclear program.

4 February 2012 the Minister of defense L. Panetta has declared that Israel is ready to conduct a military operation against Iran in April-may this year. In this case, for applying the most effective strike on Iran's nuclear facilities can be used as multi-purpose fighters F-15 and ballistic missile "Jericho-2".

In addition, hypothetical parties a possible conflict periodically carry out well-planned activities the misinformation of the public by "information leakage" from American and Israeli authorities about the readiness of the USA and Israel to conduct a military operation against Iran. In the same context are publications in mass media opinions of respected international experts and military experts on this topic, as well as the dissemination of information about the consolidation of forces of the U.S. Navy in the Persian Gulf.

For example, in March this year in the Gulf region planned arrival of another carrier strike group led awma of the enterprise. In the same period in the region may be sent to the French aircraft carrier "Charles de Gaulle". In addition, from the Mediterranean to the Arabian complete the transition of the nuclear submarine "Annapolis" (type "Los Angeles") and the destroyer URO "Momsen" (type "Orly Burke"), equipped with cruise missiles "Tomahawk". In addition, the Ministry of defense disseminated information on the allocation of $ 80 million on a program of modernization of non-nuclear heavy aircraft controlled bombs MOP, designed to destroy fortified underground facilities.

The main response information exposure undertaken by the leadership of Iran on pressure from Western countries, should provide a demonstration of readiness to repel a possible military operation and the application of adequate attacks on U.S. allies in the region, primarily Israel, as well as States is ready to provide its territory for the implementation of the aggression.

In particular, on 4 February in the Strait of Hormuz has begun another teaching of the Islamic revolutionary guard Corps series "the Great prophet". On the same day the spiritual leader of Iran, Khamenei said that the country's armed forces are ready and possess all the necessary powers and resources to inflict "preemptive strike" by Israeli nuclear facilities.

In G. декабре2011 Iranian first Vice-President M. Rahimi threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz (one of the most strategically located sea lanes on the planet, which is almost 40 per cent of global marine oil traffic), if the West will impose unilateral sanctions on exports of Iranian oil. In addition, the commander of the Islamic revolutionary guards Corps H. Sal said: the U.S. has no right to dictate to Iran what he can do in the Strait of Hormuz and what is not. Any threatened, we will respond to the threat. Iran will not abandon its strategic action if Iran's vital interests will be jeopardized". These statement not only raised the panic in the oil markets, triggering a sharp rise in oil prices to 100 dollars per barrel on the new York stock exchange, but also led to a rapid increase in tension in the Persian Gulf.

The importance of the Iranian leadership gives support and continued cooperation in various areas, including in military and military-technical spheres, its traditional allies in the region and internationally, many of which, in fact, are geopolitical foes and antagonists of the United States. First of all, it is Russia, China, Venezuela, Ecuador, Syria, Pakistan, Afghanistan, etc.

According to media reports, in ноябре2011 the head of the Russian Federal service for military-technical cooperation (FSMTC) M. Dmitriev said that Russia was continuing military-technical cooperation with Iran.

In конце2011, the President of Afghanistan Hamid Karzai, speaking at a Council of tribal leaders, stressed that Kabul was planning an even greater rapprochement with Tehran.

Readiness to enter the war in case of attack on Iran by the US or any other country, said Chinese President Hu Jintao (декабрь2011 G.) and the President of Pakistan A. Zardari (февраль2012).

Thus, from the above, it can be stated that the intensity of special activities in the information sphere of the Western countries and Iran continues to grow. At the same time a more important place in the framework of the information war the U.S. and its allies, along with information and psychological has become the information technology component, an object of influence which are important elements of systems of state and military administration. The attack by the Stuxnet virus was, in fact, the first ever confirmed by the influence of information from one state (coalition of States) to the critical infrastructure of another state.

Regarding the information-psychological component of warfare should indicate on the scale, audiences and means of influence on the international community on the background of the fact that today the majority of the population of almost every country forms its own idea of what is happening solely on the basis of information received from the media. Particular importance is attached to development of various services on the Internet, in most cases controlled by the US intelligence services, as well as providing other channels to obtain necessary information in case it was blocked by the authorities.

Currently, the U.S. military has everything necessary to provide Internet service and other modern types of communication participants in any social protests and uprisings. The Pentagon strenuously carried out the search and implementation of technical solutions related to a possible "turning on the Internet" in any country against the will of its leaders, as well as blocking the efforts of the official authorities to create an information vacuum.

Thus, according to a teacher of the higher school of the U.S. Navy Professor J. Arcilla, in order, for example, to force the events to overthrow the authorities, to prevent the generation of a glow conflict, etc., you can use the special aircraft like the American Commando Solo, which is used for psychological operations and can broadcast in AM bands and FM radio and UHF and VHF television. Such modified aircraft, flying in the right area, could include Wi-Fi network and provide Internet access. Also, for example, unmanned stealth aircraft, RQ-170, could arrange in a specific area of 3G network connected to the Internet via military satellite.

Experience of conducting information war in the framework of the development of the situation around Iran shows that the shutdown of servers, the blocking of social groups on the Internet and other activities are only fighting the consequences, not the causes of instability and unrest. During the information-psychological operations, these steps can be considered as a defeat. The best option here is the systematic use and promotion of its own information technology, including the impact of certain objects, similar to the Western one.

In relation to forecasts of further developments in the framework of the current situation in the middle East to indicate that the "Iranian nuclear missile threat" is currently the only strong argument for the creation of the American missile defense system in Europe, and, consequently, the escalation of the information war in a direct military phase of the conflict to eliminate the threat for European countries the United States is extremely profitable. In the event of liquidation (suspension for a long time) rocket-the nuclear program of Iran, the U.S. and NATO will need to find new arguments to Russia in favor of building the European missile defense system. In this regard, it can be assumed that in the short term, the efforts of the United States are not aimed at addressing the Iranian threat, and its mainstreaming with the involvement of all available information resources, while promoting a point of special promotions provocative.


Dmitry Aleshkevich


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