Iran's cyberwarfare czar is allegedly assassinated

As the Middle East country beefs up its cyberforces, Mojtaba Ahmadi, the head of its Cyber War Headquarters, is said to be found with two bullet wounds near his heart.

This graphic shows the number of malware infections by country in 2012. Seculert

Iran's chief of the Cyber War Headquarters, Mojtaba Ahmadi, is the latest person said to be killed in a string of murders targeting the country's nuclear scientists and security bosses.

Ahmadi was said to be found dead with two bullet wounds near his heart in the outskirts of a town near the capital Tehran, according to the Telegraph.

While the details are still forthcoming, the Telegraph reports that the Iranian government claims outside forces committed the alleged assassination. The government alleges it was most likely done by Israel's external intelligence agency, the Mossad.

It's no secret that Iran has been in a years-long cyberwar with both the US and Israel. Since 2010, Iran has been fending off malware attacks by Stuxnet, Flame, Duqu, and other worms, which allegedly hail from the US and Israel and target Iran's power and nuclear plants. In August, newly leaked National Security Agency documents showed that US spy agencies carried out 231 offensive cyberattacks in 2011, primarily aimed at Iran, Russia, North Korea, and China.

For its part, Iran also has been beefing up its cyberforces -- prompting concern among US officials . The country has been blamed for several cyberattacks, including one that hit US banks late last year and for collaborating with Syria's regime through a hacking collective known as the Syrian Electronic Army.

Besides the alleged assassination of Ahmadi, five Iranian nuclear scientists and the head of the ballistic missile program have been murdered since 2007. According to the Telegraph, the most recent of these victims, Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan, worked in the Natanz uranium enrichment plant and was killed last year by an explosive device that blew up in his car.

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About the author

Dara Kerr is a staff writer for CNET focused on the sharing economy and tech culture. She grew up in Colorado where she developed an affinity for collecting fool's gold and spirit animals.

 

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