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Iranian Hackers Target U.S. Government Officials

Iranian Hackers Target U.S. Government Officials

by Samburaj DasNovember 5, 2015

Government officials in the Obama administration have had their email and social media accounts hacked by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, according to U.S. officials.

The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has shifted to a high gear in targeting and successfully hacking email and social media accounts belonging to Obama administration officials, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The publication cites anonymous U.S. officials who revealed a surge in hacking activity by the powerful Iranian Revolutionary Guard is related to a recent arrest of an Iranian-American USA Iranbusinessman by the Revolutionary Guard in Tehran, Iran.

Saimak Namazi, a business consultant and an executive in the energy industry has previously pushed for better U.S.-Iranian diplomatic ties. A recent international agreement between the two countries eased strict economic sanctions previously imposed on Iran by the United States. The sanctions were lifted in return for Iran’s guarantee of its nuclear program staying away from developing nuclear weapons.

The IRGC has routinely engaged in cyber espionage targeting U.S. agencies but the increased activity saw a number of Obama administration personnel and officials at the State Department’s Office of Iranian Affairs. Also, computers and networks belonging to journalists and academics have also been hacked, an unnamed official confirmed.

Speaking to the WSJ, the administration official said:

U.S. officials were among many who were targeted by recent cyberattacks … officials believe some of the more recent attacks may be linked to reports of detained dual citizens and others.

Namazi has previously worked for Washington-based think tanks and is the head of Crescent Petroleum, an oil and gas company in the UAE. The IRGC has reportedly detained Namazi in the past and interrogated routinely besides having his family home ransacked in Tehran.

The hackers are believed to be targeting U.S. officials actively working on Iranian policy.

The volatile history of diplomatic relations between the United States and Iran is well documented. Both sides engage in cyberattacks with the highly publicized incident wherein a USB-drive carrying the Stuxnet malware was planted by the U.S. to disrupt Iran’s nuclear installations.

Security experts point to a procedure employed by Iran-based hackers who focus on a target’s social media accounts. For instance, if a target’s Facebook account had 100 friends with each of those having an additional 100 friends, a comprehensive comb-through of the target’s records will eventually result in gaining the names and information of 10,000 users.

U.S. officials claim Russian influences behind the army of cyber-agents cultivated by the IRGC and trained by Russia to focus on U.S. corporations, oil companies in Saudi Arabia and other targets. Russia has always denied the accusation.

Images from Shutterstock.

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  • Taji Hanson

    Iran has a
    long and dubious history of cyber-attacks as it has gone after US businesses,
    utility networks and government agencies. Now there are new revelations of even
    setting up fake social media profiles and news sites in order to befriend
    lawmakers, staff, journalists and others online and introduce malware to
    capture passwords and gain access to new networks. The broad effort is more
    evidence that Iran tries to project a “moderate” image on the one hand, but is
    really focused on manipulating nuclear talks in order to get crippling economic
    sanctions lifted without giving up its weapons capability or without any
    linking to improvements in brutal human rights violations. For anyone online,
    the worst thing we had to worry about with the NSA was getting recorded, in
    Iran’s case, the worse thing to worry about it actually becoming friends with a
    stealth Iranian Revolutionary Guard member.

  • Finally someone is sticking it to the beast.
    I think it is obvious that the whole world is sick and tired of Zionist-Supremacist wiping out millions of people around the world, including over one million in Iraq alone.
    Obama and his officials like Bush and the Clinton’s are all involved in international criminality, and war crimes and crimes against humanity.
    Iran has not invaded another country in just over 800 years. They are peace lovers, and are against any and all nuclear weapons.
    May the NSA/Mossad/Mi6/CIA fall from natural causes.
    We must all unite as one world against the extremest, whom is self evident