WASHINGTON – On Thursday, Obama administration announced the indictment of 7 Iranian hackers for a synchronized campaign of cyber-attacks on the dozens of US banks & a New York dam from year 2011 to 2013, indicating an effort by the officials to more overtly confront the cyber crime waged on the behalf of foreign nations.
The accusation that was filed in a federal court in NY, described the Iranian suspects, as “experienced computer hackers” who are believed to have been working on behalf of the Iranian govt.
The move marks the 1st time US govt. charged the individuals tied to a nation-state with attempts to disrupt the critical infrastructure, a vulnerability that the security researchers have been concerned about in the recent months.
Separately, the Treasury Department of the United States blacklisted 2 Iranian companies for assisting the Iran’s ballistic missile program & has also sanctioned 2 British executives who were seemingly helping an airline that is used by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards.
The charged hackers were identified as Hamid Firoozi, Ahmad Fathi, Amin Shokohi, Omid Ghaffarinia, Sadegh Ahmadzadegan, Nader Seidi and Sina Keissar, all are residents of Iran, and are accused of conspiracy to commit the computer hacking while employed by 2 Iran-based computer companies, Mersad Company & ITSecTeam.
Gen. Loretta Lynch, U.S. Attorney stated that the hackers had caused tens of millions of dollars in damages in their assault on the U.S banks. According to the indictment, at least 46 major financial sectors companies & institutions were targeted, including Wells Fargo, American Express, and JPMorgan Chase. AT&T was also targeted.
The hackers are indicted of hitting banks with the distributed denial of service attacks on a near-weekly basis that is a relatively unsophisticated ploy that can bring the computer networks offline by flooding the servers with spammed traffic.
“These attacks were relentless, they were systematic, & they were widespread,” said Lynch.
Lynch said that the attack on the Bowman Avenue Dam was especially alarming because the intrusion could’ve posed a serious threat to security. A knock of good fortune had prevented the hackers from gaining the operational control of floodgates because Bowman Avenue dam had been manually disconnected for the routine maintenance, she added.