The US charged nine Iranians with cyber attacks against more than 350 entities around the world, mostly universities, on behalf of the Iranian government.
- The Department of Justice just announced charges against nine Iranians for an elaborate hacking scheme that targeted more than 140 US universities.
- Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announced the charges in a Friday press conference.
The US charged nine Iranians with cyber attacks against more than 350 entities around the world, mostly universities, on behalf of the Iranian government, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announced Friday.
The indictment charged Gholamreza Rafatnejad, 38; Ehsan Mohammadi, 37; Abdollah Karima, akalso known asa Vahid Karima, 39; Mostafa Sadeghi, 28; Seyed Ali Mirkarimi, 34; Mohammed Reza Sabahi, 26; Roozbeh Sabahi, 24; Abuzar Gohari Moqadam, 37; and Sajjad Tahmasebi, 30, all citizens and residents of Iran, for the attacks.
Those defendants were all connected to the Mabna Institute, an Iranian company that has conducted cyber attacks on the more than 360 entities, which included 144 US universities, 176 universities on foreign soil, 47 domestic and foreign private companies, and government bodies such as the US Department of Labor and the United Nations.
The indictment alleges that the defendants stole more than 31 terabytes of academic data and intellectual property from the universities, worth more than $3 billion. The Treasury Department levied sanctions against the Mabna Institute and the defendents, which came in addition to the criminal charges filed by the Justice Department.
“For many of these intrusions, the defendants acted at the behest of the Iranian government and, specifically, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps,” Rosenstein said in a press conference. “The Department of Justice will aggressively investigate and prosecute hostile actors who attempt to profit from America’s ideas by infiltrating our computer systems and stealing intellectual property. This case is important because it will disrupt the defendants’ hacking operations and deter similar crimes.”
The defendents were charged with computer fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy, and identity theft. Rosenstein added that the stolen information was then used or sold by the Iranian government.