The Wall Street Journal reports:
Russia is helping Iran gain advanced digital-surveillance capabilities as Tehran seeks deeper cooperation on cyberwarfare, people familiar with the matter said, adding another layer to a burgeoning military alliance that the U.S. sees as a threat.
The potential for cyberwarfare collaboration comes after Iran has, according to U.S. and Iranian officials, sold Russia drones for use in Ukraine, agreed to provide short-range missiles to Moscow and shipped tank and artillery rounds to the battlefield. Tehran is seeking the cyber help along with what U.S. and Iranian officials have said are requests for dozens of elite Russian attack helicopters and jet fighters and aid with its long-range missile program.
Russia and Iran both have sophisticated cyber capabilities and have long collaborated with each other, signing a cyber-cooperation agreement two years ago that analysts said focused mostly on cyber-defense networks. Moscow has long resisted sharing digital-offensive capabilities with Iran in the past, for fear they will end up being sold later on the dark web, the people said.
Since the start of the war in Ukraine, Russia has provided Iran with communication-surveillance capabilities as well as eavesdropping devices, advanced photography devices and lie detectors, people familiar with the matter said.
Moscow has likely already shared with Iran more advanced software that would allow it to hack the phones and systems of dissidents and adversaries, the people said. Russian authorities have determined that the benefits of advancing the military relationship with Iran outweigh any downsides, the people said.
The Iranian government used the internet to blunt the impact of a nationwide protest movement last year, slowing down web traffic in target areas to stop the spread of videos and communications among protesters. It also used digital surveillance tools to track and arrest protesters. [Continue reading…]