Iran is set to take key ministries and state agencies offline in the next month in a bid to protect sensitive information from cyber-attacks.

Iran Stuxnet Flame Offline

Iran has been the target of some high-profile attacks including Stuxnet and Flame, which have targeted Iran's nuclear and oil facilities. Both attacks were carried out by the US government, working in conjunction with the Israeli government, though neither has ever officially confirmed it.

The Telegraph is reporting that Reza Taghipour, Iran's telecommunications minister, said the step was being taken because sensitive intelligence was vulnerable on the internet, which he said was untrustworthy because it was controlled by "one or two" countries hostile to Iran.

"The establishment of the national intelligence network will create a situation where the precious intelligence of the country won't be accessible to these powers," Mr Taghipour told a conference on Sunday at Tehran's Amir Kabir University.

Iran is planning on doing away with the world wide web completely and wants to replace it with an intranet within the next 18 months. The move to take state agencies offline is the first step in this plan.

Critics of the Iranian regime say that taking the country off the world wide web completely would limit the freedom of speech in the Middle Eastern country. There is already strict surveillance of Iran's internet users.

Nima Rashedan, an Iranian cyber-security specialist based in the Czech Republic, told The Telegraph the domestic network was unlikely to be effective. "In terms of cyber security, Iran is one of the most backward countries I know," he said. "Because of the dis-functionality of the government, I don't think they will be able to implement it properly."

The US began offensive cyber-attacks against Iran during the presidency of George W. Bush when the Olympics Games project was founded. Out of this was borne the Stuxnet cyber-weapon, which was designed to specifically target the Natanz nuclear enrichment facility in Iran.

Stuxnet came to light when it leaked onto the world wide web when one of the engineers at Natanz connected his work laptop to the internet. Flame, a more sophisticated computer virus emerged only a couple of months ago, infecting computer networks around the Middle East, but it could have been in the wild for more than two years.

It has been established the creators of Stuxnet and Flame had cooperated at come stage during their development.

For more on this topic, make sure to visit the IBTimes UK Cyber Warfare page