BBC Persian Service Suffers Sophisticated Cyber Attack
March 15, 2012

BBC Persian Service Suffers Sophisticated Cyber Attack

British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) director-general Mark Thompson reported on Wednesday that the site had suffered a sophisticated cyber-attack recently.

Thompson said that hackers attempted to jam the satellite feeds of BBC services into Iran and as well as swamp its London phone lines with automated calls.

He described the coincidence of the attacks as "self-evidently suspicious", stopping short of blaming Tehran for the attacks.

Last month, Thompson accused Iranian authorities of arresting and threatening the families of BBC journalists to force them to quit the Persian news service.

"It now looks as if those who seek to disrupt or block BBC Persian may be widening their tactics," he said in a speech.

"There was a day recently when there was a simultaneous attempt to jam two different satellite feeds of BBC Persian into Iran, to disrupt the Service's London phone-lines by the use of multiple automatic calls, and a sophisticated cyber-attack on the BBC," he said.

"It is difficult, and may prove impossible, to confirm the source of these attacks, though attempted jamming of BBC services into Iran is nothing new and we regard the coincidence of these different attacks as self-evidently suspicious," Thompson said in a speech BBC released in advanced.

Thompson said he did not want to give out any more details of the latest incidents, but added that BBC is taking every step to ensure "this vital service continues to reach the people who need it."

BBC Persian staff provides Farsi-language TV, radio and online services to citizens.

Some parts of BBC were unable to access email and other Internet services on March 1.  BBC said that may have been caused by its systems being overwhelmed by a denial-of-service attack.