On Friday, the Justice Department unveiled that it had indicted nine Iranians for operating a “massive and brazen” cyber theft campaign on behalf of the country’s Revolutionary Guard:
The alleged hackers are affiliated with the Mabna Institute, an Iran-based company, prosecutors said. They allegedly breached computer systems belonging to the U.S. Department of Labor, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the United Nations, and the states of Hawaii and Indiana, according to federal officials. All told, 31 terabytes of “academic data and intellectual property” were stolen from universities, prosecutors said.
The Justice Department announced that the Mabna Institute and the nine defendants would also be subject to sanctions after finding that the hackers operated a sophisticated phishing expedition to gather the professors’ login information. All told, over 8,000 professors at 144 U.S. universities and 176 foreign ones were affected. While the men named in the indictment are unlikely to enter a U.S. courtroom or prison (because they probably won’t travel to countries that have extradition treaties with the U.S.), the Justice Department hopes that the indictments will deter future hacking schemes.
The news came hours after reports broke that Guccifer 2.0, the (likely) group of hackers who supplied DNC emails to Wikileaks and were in contact with Trump advisor Roger Stone, slipped up at one point and revealed an IP address connected to the Russian intelligence service GRU.