Iranian piracy targeted officials in America and Europe


Christmas has seen malicious spyware attacks on high-ranking employees considered targets by Iranian intelligence in the United States, Europe, and the Middle East, according to the security research firm CERTFA.

A hacker cell called APT 35, also known as “the little cat”, launched a fraudulent electronic campaign in December, with fake messages that appeared to be birthday greetings and which contained malicious spyware.

Messages written “Happy Birthday” and “Happy New Year” are emailed, and behind each congratulation are an invitation to click to access the eBook presentation.

The report quotes what was stated in one of the letters, “This year I decided to make my friends happy with my latest book. Here is a Christmas present I hope you enjoy.”

The hacking cell is linked to the Iranian government, and is known for its intelligence-gathering operations through campaigns against US diplomats and defense officials.

The report indicated that this time the cell targeted a large number of high-level employees, including “members of think tanks, political research centers, university professors, journalists, and environmental activists.”

The hackers used sophisticated techniques to mask their identities, and sent messages using real URLs on Google to make the recipient feel confident and open the message.

Pirates associated with the Iranian regime are active on the Internet and sometimes masquerade as journalists and social media activists.

And Facebook announced last October that Iranian hackers suspected of sending threatening messages to American voters were also responsible for launching a propaganda campaign with false information, last year, targeting the Middle East.

US officials also pointed the finger at Iran, late last year, for its involvement in sending thousands of e-mails, in which it threatened Democrats for assuming the name of an American group aligned with the Republican Party.

Microsoft stated that the hacks that came from Iran also attacked the individual accounts of people around US President Donald Trump’s campaign.

Along with Russia, North Korea and China, Iran is among the four countries in which the largest number of information pirates are active, according to Western experts.


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