Actor Type: N/A

Serial: TR-18-011-001

Countries: US, IR, UK

Report Date: 20180111

Iranian Protests: Propaganda War

Wapack Labs is monitoring the developments in the ongoing Iran protests. Wapack analysts continue to observe an increase in Internet restriction and disabling of communication applications; Facebook, Twitter, Telegram, Google, WhatsApp, and Signal. To date, ProtonMail’s free VPN service for Android phones, and Psiphon, an app that circumnavigates network firewalls, are the only means of providing anonymity for Iranian citizens.

As information censorship increases, so too does pro-regime propaganda:

  • IRGC made claims the protesting ended
    • Protests continue – spreading to 80+ cities
  • Former Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad arrested for inciting violence
    • Najah Mohammad Ali, the “reliable source in Tehran” and former editor for Al Arabiya, reported the ‘fake news” to London-based daily al-Quds al-Arabi

    • Najah was expelled from Iran in the past for falsifying reports

  • Protestor death total and arrest numbers low
    • Iranian government reported 22 deaths / several hundred arrested

    • Opposition reported 50 deaths / up to 3,700 arrested

  • Supreme Leader Khamenei blames the US and UK for the protests
    • Protestsareorganic;nomentionofWesternissues

    • Iranian’s upset over economic conditions and current regime

The current climate in Iran may give way to Iranian-backed threat actors targeting the anti-regime demonstrators. Wapack Labs assesses, with moderate confidence, that the cyber activity will remain confined to Iran, but continues to monitor the situation for movement affecting our customer base.

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