Iranian Hackers Indicted and Sanctioned for State-Sponsored IP Theft

Today, the U.S. Department of Justice revealed indictments for nine Iranian hackers and the U.S. Treasury sanctioned these same individuals as well as one entity, the Mabna Institute, for engaging in state-sponsored theft of intellectual property from 144 U.S. universities – estimated to value $3.4 billion. The campaign also targeted 176 universities across 21 foreign countries and 47 domestic and foreign private sector companies, including within Australia, Canada, China, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, and the UK. The United Nations, the U.S. Department of Labor and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission were also victims of the cyber espionage campaign. 

Since 2013, the Iranian hackers have allegedly been working on behalf of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), the protectors of the 1979 Iranian Revolution, who tasked them with stealing trade secrets and other intellectual property abroad. The revealed indictments and sanctions suggest the most widespread state-sponsored hacking campaign – stealing over 31.5 terabytes of data – to result in punitive legal and economic recourse.  

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