On June 2, during a large-scale operation by the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) supporters in Iran, the surveillance cameras of the regime’s Ministry of Intelligence and the Tehran Municipality were disabled.
This heavy blow to the regime made one of the major headlines in Iran, with the Iranian regime’s state media reflecting this news and the crises it caused for the regime.
The regime refused to give any official position on the incident, while some of its media wrote about it in a hysterical way, with each fabricated claim being just as bizarre as the next.
From the regime’s point of view, in terms of technology and complexity, what happened was one of the most unique blows to its surveillance and repression system. A blow that is encouraging the people and will show them new opportunities to fight the regime.
Shifting the blame on its foreign adversaries is a well-known and old policy of propaganda used by the regime to cover up its weaknesses when confronting the MEK’s Resistance Units.
Another problem for the regime is that such operations, with these dimensions and effects, introduce an alternative that creates a new balance of power in the Iranian political scene. That is, its socio-political effect is far more than its technical effect.
In regards to the dimension of this operation, the state-run daily Etemad Online wrote in their June 12 publication, “One week after the cyber-attack on Tehran’s municipal systems, the scale of the attack has not yet been determined, nor have the systems been made available, nor have any of the various institutions involved in cybersecurity commented on it. No news has been published by the Tehran Municipality so far, and only the head of the Tehran City Council has called the perpetrators of this attack enemies.”
They added, “An hour after this incident, the public relations of the Tehran Municipality Information Technology Organization issued a statement confirming the ‘intentional disruption in the internal page of the Tehran Municipality’s intranet system’ and announced: ‘The process of eliminating this limited disruption was completed quickly’. However, none of the systems and sites related to Tehran Municipality have been made available yet, and no time has been announced for a return to normal conditions.”
On June 8, the state-run daily Nameh News reflected the regime’s desperation and wrote, “Hack after hack and disruption after disruption! One day prison camera, one day gas stations, one day radio and television, one day municipal systems from city signs to metro ticket chargers; Even the speaker of some passage in Mashhad is hacked and it is interesting that no one is worried about all this hacking.”
The state-run Jahan-e Sanat daily reflected the regime’s technical weakness in their publication, writing, “The question is where are the passive security and defense apparatuses and other responsible institutions in this field? When the shouts of the people are heard standing in line at subway stations for several hours, the chairman of Tehran City Council says very simply and easily that ‘hacking municipal systems were Mossad’s job’.”
According to this outlet, “Mehdi Chamran, chairman of Tehran City Council, while expressing ‘that the hacking of the municipal systems was done by the MEK and all anti-Islamic currents, they had planned it in advance to show the Tehran municipality’s weakness, but they failed and could not realize it.’ However, the reality is that the upward trend and the increase in such disorders are more than that, they could be simply ignored.”
The state-run Reporters Club News Agency wrote, “A cybersecurity expert believes that these hacks are becoming more newsworthy and more observable than ever because of their importance. According to Fallahi, hacking is not a one-night or an immediate decision. Any cyber-attack means that the hacker has infiltrated the system for years and now declares its destruction for any reason.”