‘Anonymous’ hackers knock Iran state websites offline amid nationwide protests

A demonstrator waves an ‘Anonymous’ hacking group flag during a protest in London on 2 April, 2022 (Getty Images)
A demonstrator waves an ‘Anonymous’ hacking group flag during a protest in London on 2 April, 2022 (Getty Images)

Anonymous has said it was behind cyber attacks that knocked Iranian government websites offline, claiming that it was part of the hacking collective’s support for protests against the death of Mahsa Amini.

The 22-year-old woman died while being held in custody by the morality police for allegedly violating the strict Islamic dress code in Iran by wearing her headscarf too loosely, prompting women across the country to remove, or even burn, their mandatory headscarves.

In a message posted to Anonymous-affiliated social media channels on Tuesday, the hacking group said Amini’s death was the “last straw” and that it had launched #OpIran against the Iranian state.

“The people are mobilised and the streets are filled with cries of freedom and shouts of brave people,” an accompanying video stated.

“But the dictatorial Iranian government and its murderous cops persecute the people to silence them. We will not allow this. The Iranian people are not alone. Anonymous will not keep the Iranian government alive on the internet as long as they fight the dictatorial rule and fight the murderous cops.

“Now Anonymous will shut you down and your own people will remove you from power. It’s too late for ‘expect us’; We are here.”

The targets for the cyber attack were the “smart services” website and another that posts state news and interviews, while state-owned television webpages also appeared to suffer outages.

An Anonymous-affiliated social media account claimed that “all databases have been deleted”. Iran is yet to comment on the claims, or the cyber attacks.

Street protests against the death of Amini have spread to 15 cities in Iran, according to state media, with people also sharing videos online of women removing their headscarves and cutting their hair in protest over Iran’s laws.

Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi has called for an investigation into Amini’s death.