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Iranian hackers indicted for cyber attacks against U.S. infrastructure

The indictments are part of a larger crackdown on Iran cyber aggression.

Published: September 14, 2022 11:15am

Updated: September 14, 2022 12:42pm

The Justice Department has charged three Iranian nationals for cyber attacks against several targets inside the U.S., including multiple power companies and a New Jersey township.

The attacks were part of a conspiracy to hack into hundreds of organizations across multiple countries between October 2020 and last month, according to a senior Justice Department official who spoke to a reporters ahead of the indictment's release on Wednesday.

In the U.S., the alleged perpetrators are accused of targeting power companies, accounting firms, a domestic violence shelter, a construction company, a county government in Wyoming, and a municipality in Union County, New Jersey, among other victims.

The three charged were named as Mansour Ahmadi, Ahmad Khatibi Aghda, and Amir Hossein Nickaein Ravari. The Justice Department said they're believed to be in Iran, and the State Department is offering $10 million for information on locating them.

The indictment, filed last month in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey and unsealed on Wednesday, does not allege those charged in the attacks were acting on behalf of the Iranian government.

"Instead, the indictment alleges the actors were demanding to be paid themselves," the Justice Department official said.

However, the department also released a joint cybersecurity advisory on Wednesday with the FBI, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, and Australian, Canadian and U.K. governments discussing hacking activity done in coordination with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, an official Iranian state military force and a U.S.-designated terrorist organization.

The latest actions appear to be part of a broader crackdown on cyber aggression from Iran. The Treasury Department on Wednesday sanctioned 10 individuals and two entities affiliated with the IRGC for their roles in conducting malicious cyber activity.

Last week, the U.S. blamed and imposed sanctions on Iran for a series of cyber attacks against the government of Albania, a NATO ally, which cut off diplomatic ties with Tehran.

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