BBC suffers sophisticated Iranian cyber-attack

Published by Jack Hunter   – March 14, 2012
Categories: Worms and Threats

Summary: London-based BBC has been victim of a cyber-attack by Iranian authorities, claims the director-general of world's largest broadcaster in a speech given later today.

From ZDnet (

The BBC, the largest broadcaster in the world, has suffered what is described as a "sophisticated" cyber-attack by the Iranian authorities against its Persian service, director-general Mark Thompson said.

Attempts were made to jam satellite feeds into Iran and overrun its London headquarters with automated phone calls, Reuters reports.

In a speech later today at the Royal Television Society later, Thompson will describe how the Iranian government attempted to "undermine" the state broadcasting service, as the breakaway nation may be "widening their tactics" by using technology as a weapon.

"There was a day recently when there was a simultaneous attempt to jam two different satellite feeds of BBC Persian into Iran, to disrupt the service's London phone lines by the use of multiple automatic calls, and a sophisticated cyber-attack on the BBC," the speech reads.

"It is difficult, and may prove impossible, to confirm the source of these attacks, though attempted jamming of BBC services into Iran is nothing new and we regard the coincidence of these different attacks as self-evidently suspicious."

The broadcaster has a number of non-UK services that broadcast around the world, including BBC World Service, which is available globally, and BBC Persian which operates in and around Iran.

While the BBC is banned from entering or broadcasting in the country, illegal satellite receivers can still pick up the broadcasts from London. BBC staff work outside of the country, but its journalists have been known to enter regions where they are knowingly restricted from accessing.

Iran and the United Kingdom have suffered difficult diplomatic relations as of late, as the government continues to repress its citizens and freedoms in the country. And Iran isn't any better.

The Iranian government has come under fire by Western nations for harassing and detaining native and foreign journalists in the country.

"Arrest without charge, solitary confinement, threats and inducements to persuade their relations either to leave the service or to inform on it secretly to Iranian intelligence: this is how the Iranian government is trying to undermine the BBC Persian Service," Thompson will say.

Image source: BBC.

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