News FBI adds three Iranians to its list of most wanted hackers


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Three Iranian citizens are accused of hacking satellite and aerospace companies.


The US authorities have charged three Iranian citizens with hacking into American satellite and aerospace companies. Said Purkarim Arabi, Muhammad Reza Espargam and Muhammad Bayati are accused of organizing and carrying out a hacking operation in the interests of the Iranian government, which lasted a whole year.

The operation began in July 2015, according to the US Department of Justice. The attackers attacked a wide range of organizations in the United States and abroad and stole commercial information and intellectual property.

According to the materials of the court, the defendants created fake online profiles and e-mails of employees of satellite and aerospace companies (usually US citizens). From fake accounts, the attackers contacted employees of the organizations they were interested in and tried to force them to click on the malicious link, after which the malware was loaded onto the system. In particular, the attackers used Metasploit, Mimikatz, NanoCore, and a Python backdoor designed to scan infected devices for sensitive information and gain persistence.

In total, the defendants attacked 1.8 thousand specialists employed in the aerospace industry and even working in government organizations. Specialists from Israel, Australia, USA, Singapore and Great Britain became victims of hackers.

The leader of the group was 34-year-old Arabi, who is an employee of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) - in fact, the intelligence service of Iran. Arabi lived in housing provided by the IRGC and even listed hacking of British and American organizations on his resume.

In turn, Espargam is a renowned security researcher. Over the years, he built a reputation as a "white hacker" and even was a member of the OWASP Foundation. However, as the investigation showed, all this served as a cover for Espargam for his "second personality" - the hacker Reza Darkcoder and MRSCO.

How Arabi managed to "recruit" Espergam is unknown, but it is known that Reza Darkcoder provided the grouping with malware. Like Espergam, Bayati provided the group with malware.

All three hackers were listed as the FBI's most wanted criminals.
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