Sunday, 13 October, 2019

Iran Hacking Operation Swiped 15B Pages of Academic Data, Infiltrated Government Agencies

Chairman for the Committee for Foreign Policy and National Security in Iran Alaeddin Boroujerdi Chairman for the Committee for Foreign Policy and National Security in Iran Alaeddin Boroujerdi
Patty Aguilar | 24 March, 2018, 11:04

The Trump administration has charged nine Iranians for carrying out a government-sponsored hacking scheme targeting United States universities, companies and federal agencies.

The Justice Department said the hackers were affiliated with an Iranian company called the Mabna Institute, which prosecutors say contracted with the Iranian government to steal scientific research from other countries.

The targeting of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or FERC, was especially concerning, US Attorney Geoffrey Berman said, because it oversees the interstate regulation of energy in the United States and holds details of some of the country's "most sensitive infrastructure".

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announced the charges in a press conference. While that indictment also stopped short of directly naming the Iranian government as responsible, it did note that the two companies that employed the seven hackers-the ITSec Team and Mersad Company-both worked closely with the IRGC, and that one of the hackers even "received credit for his computer intrusion work from the Iranian Government towards completion of his mandatory military service". Just glance over it, or you see an e and there was an extra e. The indictment alleges the stolen data was turned over to the Revolutionary Guard Corps and used to benefit Iranian private businesses.

"Numerous [government] reports...and private companies have been saying we have to raise the costs to the bad guys", Brown told Nextgov.

Behzad Mesri (Mesri) compromised multiple user accounts belonging to a US media and entertainment company in order to repeatedly gain unauthorized access to the company's computer servers and steal valuable stolen data including confidential and proprietary information, financial documents, and employee contact information.

President Trump has said he wants to impose harsh sanctions on Iran, a move that could compel Iran to leave the agreement.

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"What's also interesting about today's indictments is that the 2015 nuclear deal struck between Iran, the US and six other countries lifted crippling economic sanctions in return for the disarmament of their nuclear weapon program", he said. The indictments targeted nine Iranian hackers.

Hackers targeted email accounts of more than 100,000 professors worldwide and compromised about 8,000 of them, prosecutors said.

The Trump administration on Friday sanctioned nine Iranian nationals and one entity, officials say for hacking into hundreds of universities and stealing massive amounts of data and intellectual property. They are all citizens and residents of Iran.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi has condemned the new USA sanctions against several Iranian nationals and an engineering company as an act of provocation, saying the policy will fail to prevent the technological progress of the Iranian nation, Press TV reported.

Other victims of the hacking campaign include the U.S. Labor Department, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the states of Hawaii and IN, the United Nations, the United Nations Children's Fund and 47 companies IN the U.S. and overseas, according to a Justice Department document. At U of I, Iranian enrollment has jumped in recent years.

FBI Director Christopher Wray said the sanctions highlight the Trump administration's commitment to "vigorously pursue those that threaten US property and security".

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