Report: Amid Claims of Israeli Cyberespionage, Iran Mulls Smartphone Ban for Officials

Iranians with access to top secret information will not be allowed to talk shop on their smartphones.

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A woman wearing an Iranian flag uses a mobile phone on the streets of Tehran June 16, 2009.
A woman wearing an Iranian flag uses a mobile phone on the streets of Tehran June 16, 2009. Credit: Reuters

Iranian officials who work with classified information will be barred from talking about their work on their smartphones amid fears of cyberespionage, an Iranian security official was quoted by AFP as saying Saturday.

According to the report, Iran believes smartphones are exposed as "data entered on to them is backed up, cannot be removed and can be accessed," head of Iran's Civil Defense Organization, Brigadier General Gholamreza Jalali, reportedly told ISNA news agency. According to him, this means officials "should use other phones for work that involves sensitive information."

The news came days after a Wall Street Journal report claimed that a computer spy virus believed to be linked to Israel targeted three luxury European hotels just before each hosted negotiations between Iran and world powers over the Islamic Republic's nuclear program.

Israel denied the report, but Swiss authorities have begun an investigation. Most of the Iran talks over recent months have taken place in Switzerland, Austria and France.

It was not the first case of alleged cyber-warfare between Israel and Iran over its contested nuclear program. In 2010 Iran blamed Israel for a cyber-attack by the Stuxnet virus on its Natanz atomic facility.

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