DOJ charges 3 Iranians with hacking hundreds of U.S. computers to extort ransom

The Justice Department announced charges Wednesday against three Iranian men accused of hacking into hundreds of U.S. computer systems, encrypting data and extorting victims for ransom. Victims of the scheme included a township in Union County, New Jersey, and a county government in Wyoming; accounting firms in New Jersey and Illinois; power companies in Indiana and Mississippi; a Washington state housing authority and a Pennsylvania domestic violence shelter, according to the indictment. The three men are in Iran and are not in custody. But officials familiar with the investigation who spoke on condition of anonymity said the charges are intended to limit their employment, training and travel outside Iran, and they could be tried if ever taken into custody. The indictment doesn’t allege the participation of the Iranian government. FBI Director Christopher Wray said hackers might feel safe in anonymity behind their keyboards, but that they are wrong and can be identified. “The FBI is coming after them and we’re doing it with the full force of our law enforcement and intelligence partners in the U.S. and overseas,” Wray said. “These three individuals are among a group of cybercriminals whose attacks represent a direct assault on critical infrastructure and public services we all depend on.”

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OODA Analyst

OODA Analyst

OODA is comprised of a unique team of international experts capable of providing advanced intelligence and analysis, strategy and planning support, risk and threat management, training, decision support, crisis response, and security services to global corporations and governments.