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Iranian Hackers Run Long-Time Spying Operation against US Personnel

According to one cyber-intelligence company ISight Partners, within a never-like-before 3-yr online spying scheme, hackers from Iran created bogus news websites and fake accounts on social networks to monitor political and military stalwarts of USA, Israel as well as other countries, published tech.firstpost.com, May 29, 2014.

The scheme reportedly involved hackers targeting one American Navy admiral anointed with 4 stars, American ambassadors and lawmakers, US-Israeli lobby members, along with officials from Syria, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Iraq, in addition to Britain.

Tiffany Jones, Executive Vice-President at ISight contended that if the campaign had been ongoing from 2011 suggesting an extended time-period then the perpetrators must have succeeded. Tech-firstpost.com published this.

The operation, which ISight named "Newscaster," so gets the title as according to the company, the Iranian attackers set up 6 Internet personas that posed as workers for some newsonair.org site along with 8 more that posed as working for different organizations along with defense contractors.

For developing trust, the hackers targeted high-profile entities after setting up relationships with different people, concerning the entities, such as friends, colleagues, classmates, family members as also other connections via the Google, Facebook, Twitter and LinekdIn social-networks.

The attackers dispatched malicious web-links to their targets so they'd take down malicious software onto their computers, alternatively took them onto false pages that helped filch usernames and passwords.

It wasn't specified in the ISight study the kinds of data that got stolen during the hack, however, according to Jones, the different entities attacked, especially military contractors, resulted in worry that military weapons-related plans were what hackers wanted.

There were several hints in support. The bogus newsonair.org site showed its registration inside Tehran while websites, which the hackers utilized for serving malware, also had Iran as the hosting country. There were many Persian words in the hackers' malicious software. The hackers' tasks featured with time stamps indicated that the latter corresponded with Tehran's work hours; even holidays and weekends corresponded with the Iranian ones.

Understandably, Iranian hackers as well infected Saudi Aramco's 30,000 PCs, the company that produces maximum oil globally, and overwrote those PCs' data with an American flag's picture showing as burning.

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