United States indicts nine Iranians for massive global cyber attacks

US Charges 9 Iranians With Hacking A Wide Range Of US Targets

These hackers targeted more than 100,000 email accounts of professors around the world, the DOJ said, successfully compromising 8,000 professor email accounts across more than 325 universities including the U.S., Australia, Canada, China, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, and the United Kingdom.

The nature of the papers is not yet known, but it is thought that the research could help in the development of nuclear weapons.

Also Friday, the Treasury Department targeted the Mabna Institute and 10 Iranians - the nine defendants and one charged in a separate case past year - for sanctions that officials say will make it harder for them to do business outside Iran. They also targeted and compromised at least 36 USA -based private companies and at least 11 companies based in Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Sweden and the United Kingdom, prosecutors said. The Mabna Institute also contracted with Iranian governmental and private entities to conduct hacking activities on its behalf.

The FBI says the nine Iranians pictured above took part in a government-sponsored hacking scheme that pilfered sensitive information from hundreds of universities, private companies and government agencies.

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Justice Department officials called it the largest state-sponsored hacking campaign the US government has ever prosecuted.

The charges announced on Friday, which were filed in the US District Court for the Southern District of NY, included conspiracy to commit computer intrusions, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, computer fraud, wire fraud, and aggravated identify theft. Login credentials belonging to university professors were also stolen and used to access online library systems, the Treasury said. The alleged campaign is accused of stealing intellectual property, according to prosecutors, including access to academic journals, dissertations and electronic books.

Since 2013, the Mabna Institute carried out cyber intrusions into the computer systems of 144 USA universities, the Treasury Department said, and 176 universities in 21 foreign countries.

The U.S. Department of Labor, the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, dozens of private firms and nongovernmental organizations such as UNICEF were also allegedly targeted.

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In the case of universities, attackers targeted professors with well-crafted phishing attacks.

IN wasn't the only state attacked by Iranian hackers.

The stolen information was then used by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps or sold for profit in Iran, according to the USA charges.

"Mabna Institute employees can no longer travel freely, curtailing their career prospects outside of Iran". All nine Iranians accused of carrying out the attacks, Berman said, were still in Iran. Nine of the 10 individuals have been indicted separately for related crimes. Investigators found 320 universities around the world were attacked along with several US government entities, including the Department of Labor, United Nations, and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, they said.

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