Friday 13 November 2015

Iranian Military Hackers Focus on U.S. Administration Officials


Iran’s Revolutionary Guards – Hacking emails & Social Media Account -US Officials

Wall Street Journal had recently reported that Iran’s Revolutionary Guards have come up with hacking of email and social media accounts of Obama administration officials in recent weeks in cyber-attacks, is said to be connected with the arrest of an Iranian-American businessman in Tehran.

The newspaper referring to unnamed U.S. officials stated that people working on Iran policy seemed to be the focus of cyber-attacks with personnel connected to the State Department’s office of Iranian Affairs and the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs among those who had been hacked.

 Besides these, other targets comprised of journalist and academics. The most recent reports in hacking attacks came up after a landmark international agreement in July which improved the severe economic sanction on Iran in compensation of Tehran curbing its nuclear program ensuring that it will not be utilised in the development of weapons.

Recently, a powerful branch of the Iranian military – the Revolutionary Guards, regularly made hacking attacks on U.S. government agencies, though a source informed the Journal that the hacking seemed to have increased after the arrest of Siamak Namazi in mid-October

Cyber-Attacks – Obtain Information/Get Connected with Targets of Interest

A senior administration official informed Reuters in response to the Journal story, that they were aware of certain reports involving Iran and while they have no comment on the specific reports, they are aware that hackers in Iran and other areas often tend to use cyber-attacks to obtain information or get connected with targets of interest.

 Namazi, head of strategic planning for Crescent Petroleum, which is an oil and gas company in the United Arab Emirates, had worked for think tanks in Washington. He had been apprehended and interrogated by the Revolutionary Guards, regularly prior to his arrest. Namazi had studied in the U.S. and had friendships at Washington which included the National Endowment for Democracy and the Woodrow Wilson International Centre for Scholars.

 He had earlier been the managing director of Atieh Bahar, a consulting firm promoting foreign investment in Iran. The fact sheet had indicated that he had studied at Tufts and Rutgers universities though had returned to Iran in late 1990s for the purpose of military service.

China/Russia Accused of Cyber-Attacks

It stated that he stayed out of discussion of U.S. or Iranian political queries in recent years with the exception of very public role he had played recounting the adverse impact of Western sanction on the Iranian population. A source had informed the Journal that U.S. officials are of the belief that some of the more recent attacks could have been linked to reports of detained dual citizens as well as the others.

The Journal had revealed that Namazi’s friends as well as business associates has informed that the Revolutionary Guards had confiscated his computer after raiding his family’s home in Tehran. According to a spokesman at Iran’s U.N. mission in New York informed newspaper that Tehran had been wrongly accused of cyber-attacks.

Over the past several months, China and Russia have been accused of cyber hacking administration officials in the United States and the countries have denied the charges too. As per LA Times it was said that the hackers were on the lookout for information on U.S. spies.

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