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This article was published on December 21, 2011

    Iran reels in government websites, 90% moved to local in-country hosts

    Iran reels in government websites, 90% moved to local in-country hosts
    Nancy Messieh
    Story by

    Nancy Messieh

    Lesotho-born and raised, Nancy Messieh, The Next Web's Middle East Editor, is an Egyptian writer and photographer based in Cairo, Egypt. Fol Lesotho-born and raised, Nancy Messieh, The Next Web's Middle East Editor, is an Egyptian writer and photographer based in Cairo, Egypt. Follow her on Twitter, her site or Google+ or get in touch at [email protected]

    In June, Anonymous launched an attack on the website of the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, not only temporarily putting it out of commission, but also stealing 10,000 emails in the process. As Anonymous continues to target official governmental websites in the Middle East, most recently taking down several sites in Egypt, Reuters reports that Iran has made a move to protect its sites from prying eyes.

    Iran has consistently been making efforts to further restrict and control Internet access in the country. From building its own Internet to blocking sites, including the US Virtual Embassy and The Next Web itself, Iran has taken strict measures to control online activity in the country.

    The latest move comes after an allegedly thwarted attack on its computers at its Bushehr nuclear reactor. Iran’s deputy minister for communications and information technology, Ali Hakim Javadi, told the IRNA news agency, “The location of the hosts of more than 90 percent of Iran’s governmental internet sites has been transferred inside the country,” adding, “This was a vital move for protecting governmental information.”

    Iranian governmental websites had been hosted by international companies, mainly in North America, but now over 30,000 websites are now hosted locally.

    As Reuters reports, Iran’s move is not entirely effective, as sites can still be hacked regardless of the location of their hosts, but the change will “restrict physical accessibility to the computers that store the data.”