On January 15, 2017, a report by Al-Arabiya’s English-language website detailed the inner workings of Iran’s cyber units, as well as the murder of former IRGC cyber commander Mohammed Hussein Tajik, who was previously arrested and tortured for allegedly spying and leaking information to Iran’s Green Movement. One of the sources for the report was journalist and reformist activist Roohollah Zam, who has ties with the Green Movement and currently lives in France.
According to Zam, the Khaybar Center for Information Technology was founded in 2011 and carried out a number of cyber operations against the United States, including against a dam, several banks, and some power stations. As a result of these operations, four Iranian hackers were sanctioned. Additionally, the Khaybar center hacked Saudi Arabia’s statistics center, as well as some Saudi banks, caused a 12-hour power outage in Turkey, and hacked several Israeli institutions and satellites.
Zam said that if Tajik had decided to flee Iran and work against the regime, he would have become “Iran’s Snowden.” He added that he did not believe that Tajik’s leaking of information was the main reason behind his murder, but that Iran’s security services would never have let somebody with Tajik’s level of access to information leave the country. Tajik said several times that he would not leave Iran before his trial was over.
Tajik’s father, whose name was also Muhammad and was known by the nickname Hajj Vali, is an old member of Iran’s intelligence ministry, according to Zam, and was one of the first to take over the SAVAK secret police following the Khomeinist revolution in 1979. Zam said that Hajj and some comrades traveled to an unnamed Arab country and built a secret network working for Iranian intelligence, which included the extremist alumni of universities in Cairo and Pakistan. Zam claims that if he had not been close to Tajik, then Tajik’s murder would have been kept a secret.
Source: English.alarabiya.net, January 15, 2017.