Focus: Local IT Sector

A Safer Approach

A Safer Approach

May. 14, 2013

With over 120 national systems and sub-systems, Iran boasts one of the most secure cyberspaces in the world. To further protect its vast network of IT infrastructure, the government has worked to establish cyber defense headquarters and indigenous security software, as well as a state-supervised filtering system in 2012. Originally dependent on foreign companies to provide software and hardware for its IT systems, Iran recently announced its decision to reject anti-virus and filtering programs and tools that are developed outside the country, triggering the local market to increase its focus on R&D in those areas. In addition, new IT solutions for the financial and public sectors are being developed locally, promising a new wave of applied technology in Iran. Since 2010, when the country suffered malware and hacking attempts that set scientific research back and heightened the authorities' awareness of cyberspace attacks, Iran has been focused on IT security. In response to network threats, a committee was formed to prevent computer worms from breaking into or stealing data from Iran's maximum security data spaces, such as financial institutions.

In addition to devising new ways of protecting important information, the government has launched a plan to develop and improve e-government services. Growth in this area is expected to influence the market heavily in 2012, as niches for the development of IT hardware, communications services, and software continue to open up. As local companies step up to the challenges that lay ahead, the Ministry of ICT proposed and enacted an initiative to prohibit the importation of foreign computer security software in early 2012, according to Mehr News Agency. Representing the government's perspective, Reza Taghipour, the Minister of ICT, stressed in an interview that Iran will begin to rely on indigenous software that is designed by local developers. In the coming months, domestic security programs are expected to improve as Iran employs the support of the Bonian Daneshpajouhan Institute, which is working with 25 local SMEs to develop a wide range of security software.

In addition, Iranian experts from the Shiraz Computer Emergency Response Team of the Academic Protection and Awareness Organization, financed by President Ahmadinejad's special committee on ICT, have been developing anti-virus software since 2010. Thus far, the committee's software has undergone and passed several preliminary tests and is expected to be available to the public in 2013.

In addition to security at the national and corporate level, another area of development in the local IT sector in 2012 is the provision of web content for home and personal use. To this end, Iran has developed its own hardware and software for filtering purposes. In addition, the authorities are using local developers to monitor the internet through the infrastructure of the Telecommunication Company of Iran (TCI). However, this system is set to be gradually phased out as the country moves toward developing a unique intranet for its citizens. The creation of the intranet will provide users with faster and more secure network access, especially for e-commerce. The ICT Guild is one organization working to achieve these security and content goals, as well as position Iran as an independent IT producer. “In terms of application software, Iran is self-sufficient, but in terms of operating systems and databases, there is still work to do," Azadeh Danandeh, President of the Iranian ICT Guild Organization, told TBY. “A project is underway to encourage the development of Iranian open-source operating systems… software is mainly developed for accounting, inventory, and other banking systems." The ICT Guild also noted that developers are working to provide industrial firms with applications such as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), financial institutions with e-banking, and consumers with recreational gaming software. Through these initiatives, Iran is striving to build a wider range of IT products for the local market, designed with safety and speed in mind.