Iranian Cyber Police Arrest Illegal VPN Seller in Tehran
According to article 25 of Iran’s cyber and computer crimes, buying and selling VPN services, which enable users to bypass governmental filtering system, is prohibited. Brigadier Nourollahi, Deputy Head of Tehran’s Cyber Police, announced on Tuesday that cyber unit of Iranian police has arrested a young man providing illegal VPN services to his clients.
“During monitoring the web space, detectives of Iranian Cyber Police (FATA) found an illegal distributor who was selling Virtual Private Network (VPN) services to clients in the hope of circumventing the filtering system.” Nourollahi informed local media.
“The culprit was also abusing the trust of his friend. Offender was totally aware of his crime, and confessed that he had sold the mentioned services in order to enable clients bypassing national filtering system. According to law, we arrested him, and he is currently in custody.” Brigadier Nourollahi concluded.
Although selling VPNs and Anti-Filtering services are prohibited in the country, but Iranian security forces do not detain providers on regular basis.
According to unofficial statistics, 30 to 40 percent of Internet users in Iran are utilizing VPNs and other related services to circumvent Internet restrictions. Studies suggest that almost 55% of websites are officially blocked in Iran. Facebook, YouTube and Twitter are among most popular websites blocked by Iranian government and Filtering Committee.
As the main use of VPN services is encrypting sensitive information, Iran’s IT Ministry has already started offering this service to local certified organizations. Currently, VPNs’ ports are closed in Iran, and most of Internet clients are using other methods to bypass filtering system.