Thursday, May 29, 2014

Iran-Based Cyberspies Targeting U.S. Officials, Report Alleges

Three-Year Campaign to Gather Intelligence on Economic Sanctions, Antinuclear Efforts

By Siobhan Gorman, WSJ
May 29, 2014 12:01 a.m. ET

Hackers apparently based in Iran have mounted a three-year campaign of cyberespionage against high-ranking U.S. and international officials, including a four-star admiral, to gather intelligence on economic sanctions, antinuclear proliferation efforts and other issues, according to cybersecurity investigators.

Using an elaborate ruse involving more than a dozen personas working for a fake U.S. news organization, the hackers developed connections to their targets through websites like Facebook and LinkedIn to trick them into giving up personal data and logon information, the investigators say.

The alleged campaign, which dates back at least to 2011 and is still under way, principally has focused on U.S. and Israeli targets in public and private sectors, but also has included similar officials in countries such as the U.K., Saudi Arabia, Syria and Iraq, according to the investigators.

The campaign was uncovered by the cybersecurity firm iSight Partners, which has been tracking it for six months. The iSight report provides the first detailed public look inside what the investigators say is an extensive cyberespionage campaign against the U.S. by Iranian hackers, and shows to an extent not previously understood their ability to conduct extensive and lengthy targeting of key individuals, much in the mold of Chinese cyberspies.

(More here.)

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