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The Hidden Internet of Iran: Private Address Allocations on a National Network

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  • The Hidden Internet of Iran: Private Address Allocations on a National Network

    While funding agencies have provided substantial support for the developers and vendors of services that facilitate the unfettered flow of information through the Internet, little consolidated knowledge exists on the basic communications network infrastructure of the Islamic Republic of Iran. In the absence open access and public data, rumors and fear have reigned supreme. During provisional research on the country's censorship regime, we found initial indicators that telecommunications entities in Iran allowed private addresses to route domestically, whether intentionally or unintentionally, creating a hidden network only reachable within the country. Moreover, records such as DNS entries lend evidence of a 'dual stack' approach, wherein servers are assigned a domestic IP addresses, in addition to a global one. Despite the clear political implications of the claim we put forward, particularly in light of rampant speculation regarding the mandate of Article 46 of the 'Fifth Five Year Development Plan' to establish a "national information network," we refrain from hypothesizing the purpose of this structure. In order to solicit critical feedback for future research, we outline our initial findings and attempt to demonstrate that the matter under contention is a nation-wide phenomenom that warrants broader attention.
    Asymmetric Warfare: It's not just for the other guys.