recommended reading

New clues emerge of private Internet network in Iran

Iranian women use computers at an Internet cafe in central Tehran, Iran.

Iranian women use computers at an Internet cafe in central Tehran, Iran. // Vahid Salemi/AP

An independent researcher has unearthed clues of a private Internet network accessible only inside Iran. The findings confirm brewing official efforts to build a system for the state apparatus to redirect and block Web traffic, as well as offer Iranian versions for global Web services.

There are “initial indicators that telecommunications entities in Iran allowed private addresses to route domestically…creating a hidden network only reachable within the country,” according to a newly-released report penned by Collin Anderson, a D.C.-based researcher funded by the University of Pennsylvania.

Anderson studied traffic flowing through hosts -- networked machines -- located within the country and attempted to make connections to 16.7 million possible private addresses, which identify networks not connected to the World Wide Web.  He confirmed to Nextgov he detected 46,000 possible networks. Some of them were owned by ministries or linked to ministry websites and public services such as the Iranian national webmail service. Some Web traffic redirected to a private IP address affiliated with the Telecommunication Company of Iran, so that censoring and blocking could take place.

Iranian officials have cited protection from computer attacks as the motivation behind the regime’s push for an Iran-only Internet infrastructure. The use of private addresses by the Iranian government has dated back to at least 2010.

While state-owned media and officials have trumpeted efforts to build domestic Internet, such a system remains, for now, woven alongside a more open web infrastructure. Anderson stressed that implementation of a national information network was by no means complete: “We do not expect access [to domestically routable networks] to be universal or consistent across all geographic regions or networks.” He added his research should not indicate immediate plans to disconnect from the global Internet.

He highlighted evidence of a ‘dual stack’ approach, in which servers are assigned domestic internet protocol addresses, in addition to a global one.

Anderson’s findings come as Iranian authorities have reopened access to Google’s email service a week after blocking it. The blocking of Gmail was an unintended result of trying to block YouTube. "Unfortunately, we do not yet have enough technical knowhow to differentiate between these two services,” a member of the telecommunications ministry committee tasked with filtering the Internet in Iran was quoted as saying, by the Mehr news agency.

Threatwatch Alert

Network intrusion / Software vulnerability

Hundreds of Thousands of Job Seekers' Information May Have Been Compromised by Hackers

See threatwatch report


Close [ x ] More from Nextgov

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • It’s Time for the Federal Government to Embrace Wireless and Mobility

    The United States has turned a corner on the adoption of mobile phones, tablets and other smart devices, outpacing traditional desktop and laptop sales by a wide margin. This issue brief discusses the state of wireless and mobility in federal government and outlines why now is the time to embrace these technologies in government.

  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

  • A New Security Architecture for Federal Networks

    Federal government networks are under constant attack, and the number of those attacks is increasing. This issue brief discusses today's threats and a new model for the future.

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

  • Software-Defined Networking

    So many demands are being placed on federal information technology networks, which must handle vast amounts of data, accommodate voice and video, and cope with a multitude of highly connected devices while keeping government information secure from cyber threats. This issue brief discusses the state of SDN in the federal government and the path forward.

  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.