Dec 13, 2018

Report: Iran hackers targeted emails of U.S. officials, nuclear experts

Revolutionary Iranian street art in Tehran. Photo: Dominika Zarzycka/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Hackers tied to the Iranian government targeted the personal emails of more than a dozen U.S. Treasury officials and other officials and individuals around the world linked to the Iran nuclear deal, according to an AP report.

Why it matters: The hacking attempts started just as the Trump administration begain to reinstate sanctions against the Iranian regime.

Details: The report relies on data from the cybersecurity firm Certfa. The campaign used a relatively simple phishing technique to dupe users — one example cited by the AP involved spoofed Gmail security pages. The email addresses that were targeted surfaced after the hacking group, known as Charming Kitten, mistakenly left one of its servers open online last month. The AP reports that Certfa was able to tie Charming Kitten to Iran based on mistakes that showed the collective as operating within the country.

  • Targets also included "high-profile defenders, detractors and enforcers of the nuclear deal struck between Washington and Tehran, as well as Arab atomic scientists, Iranian civil society figures and D.C. think tank employees."

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