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Iran Hacks to Spy

by Brent Kirkpatrick

(Date Published: .)

Iranians have been charged with running a large-scale campaign to hack and spy on American universities.

The Mabna Institute in Iran is accused of stealing at least 31 Terabytes of intellectual property and data. The company hacked hundreds of universities around the world, including hundreds of American universities, companies, and the U.S. government. The U.S. is imposing sanctions on Iran and is indicting the accused Iranians.

The U.S. Department of Justice claims that the hacking carried out by the Mabna Institute was performed on behalf of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps. This is one of several large-scale hacking campaigns launched by nations (see Lebanon Hacks to Spy).

Iranian Flag

The Mabna Institute appears to have launched its three year hacking campaign in 2013. They targeted the email accounts of professors worldwide and appear to have compromised roughly 8000 accounts. They methods included sophisticated phishing techniques.

Since Washington has no extradition treaty with Tehran, the indicted Iranians are likely never to face prosecution. Since they have no opportunity to defend themselves, this has been taken to the court of public opinion. There are articles in many major news outlets: USA Today, Wired, BBC

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