AMU Cyber & AI Cybercrime Editor's Pick Homeland Security Privacy

Iranian Cyberattack Reveals Clear and Present Danger to US Critical Infrastructure

By Amanda Vicinanzo

The US government has charged seven Iranian hackers working for computer companies associated with the Iranian government, including the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, with coordinating an extensive campaign of cyberattacks targeting a small dam outside of New York City and dozens of US financial institutions. The attack has raised concerns over the vulnerability of US critical infrastructure to foreign attack.

Ahmad Fathi, 37; Hamid Firoozi, 34; Amin Shokohi, 25; Sadegh Ahmadzadegan, aka Nitrojen26, 23; Omid Ghaffarinia, aka PLuS, 25; Sina Keissar, 25; and Nader Saedi, aka Turk Server, 26, allegedly launched distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks against at least 46 victims, primarily in the US financial sector, between late 2011 and mid-2013.

The attackers disabled or attempted to disable the computer servers of the victim corporations to prevent them from doing business, including providing online banking services, with customers. The victim institutions incurred tens of millions of dollars in remediation costs as a result of the attacks, according to the indictment.

“In unsealing this indictment, DOJ is sending a powerful message: that we will not allow any individual, group, or nation to sabotage American financial institutions or undermine the integrity of fair competition in the operation of the free market,” said Attorney General Lynch.

In addition, Firoozi is charged with repeatedly obtaining unauthorized access into the Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems of the Bowman Avenue Dam, a small flood control structure located in Rye, New York, in August and September of 2013. This unauthorized access allowed him to obtain information regarding the status and operation of the dam, including information about the water levels, temperature. and status of the sluice gate, which is responsible for controlling water levels and flow rates.

Remediation for the Bowman Dam intrusion cost over $30,000.

“The infiltration of the Bowman Avenue dam represents a frightening new frontier in cybercrime,” said US Attorney Bharara. “These were no ordinary crimes, but calculated attacks by groups with ties to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard and designed specifically to harm America and its people. We now live in a world where devastating attacks on our financial system, our infrastructure and our way of life can be launched from anywhere in the world, with a click of a mouse.”

Read the full article at HSToday.

Glynn Cosker is a Managing Editor at AMU Edge. In addition to his background in journalism, corporate writing, web and content development, Glynn served as Vice Consul in the Consular Section of the British Embassy located in Washington, D.C. Glynn is located in New England.

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