Justice Department charges seven Iranian hackers in cyberattacks

By Amy R. Connolly   |   Updated March 24, 2016 at 10:34 AM
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WASHINGTON, March 24 (UPI) -- The U.S. Justice Department charged seven people with ties to the Iranian government in connection to dozens of 2012 and 2013 computer intrusions on banks and a small upstate New York dam.

The hackers, according to the indictment announced Thursday, also targeted the New York Stock Exchange, Nasdaq and AT&T Inc. The hackers were allegedly working on behalf of the Iranian government.

One of the hackers, Hamid Firoozi, is facing a charge of unauthorized access to a protected computer at the Bowman Avenue Dam, located about 30 miles north of New York City.

"The defendants variously disabled and attempted to disable computer servers belonging to these corporations in an effort to prevent the corporations from conducting business with customers online during the course of the attacks," the indictment said.

The Justice Department alleges the hackers mounted a series of hacks on banks that include JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America from the summer of 2012 through 2013. The hackers caused the banks' websites to crash, possibly in response to the strong economic sanctions on Iran from the United States and Europe for its nuclear program.

The hackers also breached the computer systems for the dam, but only intruded on the back office systems, not the operational system.

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