Iranian hackers targeted Hawaii state computers

US Charges 9 Iranians With Hacking A Wide Range Of US Targets

Hackers also targeted the US Labor Department, the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the United Nations and the computer systems of the US states Hawaii and IN, prosecutors said.

The nature of the papers is not yet known, but it is thought that the research could help in the development of nuclear weapons.

According to U.S. authorities the cyber attacks were carried out by the Mabna Institute in Iran, which was founded by two of the people charged on Friday, and specifically focused on giving Iranian industries a competitive advantage.

"Mabna Institute is as much a [government]-controlled entity as Booz Allen [Hamilton] is over here in the US", said Williams.

US, Israel, Saudi Arabia and other regional allies have been expressing concern over Iran's growing influence in several countries, including Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Bahrain, Qatar and Yemen.

The nine Iranians named in the indictment reportedly hacked 36 American companies and five USA government agencies.

Geoffrey Berman, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of NY, said the Iranians conducted "spearphishing" attacks created to steal passwords from e-mail accounts in what he called one of the largest state-sponsored hacking schemes ever uncovered.

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Tamimi's mother, Nariman, and a cousin were also arrested for the same incident. After the plea bargain was presented to the judge, Tamimi addressed the court.

The defendants face charges of conspiracy to commit computer intrusion, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, unauthorized access of a computer, wire fraud, and aggravated identity theft. Federal agents said the hackers gained access to university databases and college library systems by using stolen login credentials belonging to university professors.

The Justice Department says the hackers stole roughly 31 terabytes of academic research and intellectual property that was then sent to servers outside the United States for profit.

They are the state governments of Hawaii and Indiana, Indiana's Department of Education, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and the Department of Labor.

The approach has been employed with past indictments accusing Iranian hackers of a digital break-in of a NY dam, Chinese military officials of large-scale hacks at energy corporations and Russians of a massive breach of Yahoo user accounts. The indictment alleges the stolen data was turned over to the Revolutionary Guard Corps and used to benefit Iranian private businesses. "The defendants got it for free", Berman said.

The charges were announced at the same time that the Treasury Department announced it was imposing sanctions on the nine individuals and the institute for the hacks. Additionally, about 7,996 university accounts were compromised-about 3,768 of them at U.S. universities.

"When hackers gain unlawful access to computers, it can take them only a few minutes to steal discoveries that were produced by many years of work and many millions of dollars of investment", said Rosenstein.

"Iran condemns the United States' provocative, illegal, and unjustified actions, which are a major new sign of the hostility and animosity of USA leaders towards the Iranian people", Qasemi said in a statement on the ministry's website.

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