Iran behind ‘unprecedented’ cyber attacks on Middle Eastern governments, says US security firm

FireEye Intelligence report suggests Iranian involvement in data harvesting

epa07261864 ILLUSTRATION - A person sits in front of a computer screen in Moers, Germany, 04 January 2019. Reports on 04 January 2019 state personal data of hundreds of German politicians, celebrities and journalists have been hacked and posted online. The compromised data reportedly includes credit card details, private chat protocols and contact information. The data was allegedly shared via a Twitter account under the name G0d (@_0rbit) prior to Christmas 2018, which has been suspended in the meantime.  EPA/SASCHA STEINBACH
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Iranian hackers are suspected of orchestrating an “unprecedented scale” of cyber attacks targeting Middle Eastern governments in the last two years, a study has found.

Californian-based FireEye Intelligence said a wave of DNS hijacking had affected dozens of government servers, telecommunications and internet companies across the Middle East and North Africa, Europe and North America.

The practice involves the use of malicious software to access sensitive information and data. Hacked aim to harvest and store usernames and passwords.

FireEye said it had “moderate confidence” of Iranian involvement in espionage following two years of studying malicious cyber attacks between January 2017 and January 2019.

The firm said it could not be certain as to whether hackers were state-funded or private individuals.

“We haven’t identified specific groups”, said Muks Hirani, co-author of the study and Technical Director at FireEye.


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The security firm added that confidential data accessed by Iranian hackers could help Iran on the political stage in future, in light of sanctions by the US and the European Union.

“In terms of geopolitical relationships, activities and data harvested would be of great interest to Iran, such as the repositioning of sanctions and gaining a foothold in the future”, said Alister Shepherd, Middle East and Africa Director at FireEye.