Tags: US | Iran | cyber

Iran Targets US Defense Firms in New Cyber Attacks

By    |   Friday, 16 May 2014 11:34 AM

Iranian computer hackers recently launched a highly sophisticated espionage campaign targeting U.S. defense firms – a sign of Iran’s growing skill in using the Internet to attack its enemies, according to experts at FireEye, a California company monitoring cyber-warfare.

A new analysis published by FireEye indicates that the Iranian cyber-sabotage effort, dubbed “Operation Saffron Rose,” used malware targeting U.S. defense contractors as well as Iranians seeking to bypass Tehran’s Internet censorship, Bloomberg Businessweek Reported

The sabotage is carried out by a hacking group called the Ajax Security Team, which targeted defense contractors with a fake website that looked nearly identical to one set up for a legitimate aerospace conference. The site, which is thought to be operating from Iran, asked users to log in with special software that turned out to be malware providing Ajax with access to their computers.

The Ajax group, operating under the name  AjaxTM since 2010, previously focused on website defacements and so-called “denial-of-service” attacks in which hackers would flood a site with traffic to overload it and force it to shut down. But this year it has apparently graduated to “conducting multiple cyber-espionage operations against companies in the defense industrial base within the United States,” according to FireEye's report.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards are playing a larger role in the regime’s efforts to target its domestic and foreign opponents. The Basij paramilitary organization, which operates under the auspices of the Revolutionary Guards, recruits paramilitary volunteer hackers for less complicated hacking operations. The more complex sabotage operations are increasingly being conducted by entities more directly under the control of the Basij, according to FireEye.

Cyber-sabotage has become a growing priority for Iran. In February, The Wall Street Journal reported that Iranian hackers successfully penetrated the Navy Marine Corps Internet for four months. They were able to monitor unclassified video, voice and data communications of the network’s 800,000 users worldwide. American officials said they had initially underestimated the Iranian hackers’ skills.

In January, The New York Times reported that U.S. officials believe Iran was behind a spate of attacks late last year targeting the online operations of banks, including Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Citigroup, Capitol One and US Bancorp.

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Iranian computer hackers recently launched a highly sophisticated espionage campaign targeting U.S. defense firms – a sign of Iran’s growing skill in using the Internet to attack its enemies, according to experts at FireEye, a California company monitoring cyber-warfare.
US, Iran, cyber
385
2014-34-16
Friday, 16 May 2014 11:34 AM
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