Three Iranian nationals have been indicted after carrying out a scheme to hack hundreds of organizations around the globe, including an electric utility company in Mississippi.
Beginning in October 2020, Mansour Ahmadi, Ahmad Khatibi Aghda, and Amir Hossein Nickaein Ravari worked “to gain unauthorized access to the computer systems of hundreds of victims in the United States, the United Kingdom, Israel, Iran, Russia, and elsewhere, causing damage and loss,” according to the Department of Justice.
Victim organizations included healthcare centers, small businesses, government agencies, non-profit programs, transportation services, utility providers, as well as educational and religious institutions. Using an encryption software called “BitLocker,” the Iranian trio would lock computer systems and demand payment to unlock them.
“These three individuals are among a group of cybercriminals whose attacks represent a direct assault on the critical infrastructure and public services we all depend on,” FBI Director Christopher Wray said in a statement.
While the accused hackers have not been arrested, the pending charges theoretically prevent them from leaving Iran. The U.S. Department of State is offering up to $10 million for information on Ahmadi, Khatibi, and Nickaein, who are believed to be part of a larger group of cyber actors affiliated with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.