Britain repeats US cyber attack charges against Iran

IRNA – The British Foreign Office Minister for cyber Lord Tariq Ahmad on Friday followed the US in accusing Iran of being involved in destructive cyber activities targeting hundreds of universities.

The Islamic Republic News Agency quoting the British Foreign Office website said Lord Tariq Ahmad claimed that the UK Government judges that the Mabna Institute based in Iran was responsible for a hacking campaign targeting universities around the world.

He said ‘By stealing intellectual property from universities, these hackers attempted to make money and gain technological advantage at our expense.’

‘We welcome the US indictments. It demonstrates our willingness and ability to respond collectively to cyber-attacks using all levers at our disposal,’ he said.

The focus on universities is a timely reminder that all organizations are potential targets and need to constantly strive for the best possible cyber security, he said.
Today the US indicted nine employees of the Mabna Institute based in Iran for a global hacking campaign targeting universities, including in the UK.

The British politician said that today’s action is a further step demonstrating that malicious cyber activity will not go unpunished. Mabna Institute employees can no longer travel freely, curtailing their career prospects outside of Iran.

The US Treasury Department said on Friday that it has put the name of 10 Iranian individuals and one institute on its sanctions list, alleging they have been involved in cyber attacks against the US.
The Iranian individuals and institute have been involved in targeting hundreds of universities, the US Treasury Department claimed

The sanctions block any transactions with those named and freeze any assets they may have under US jurisdiction, it added.

It is not the first time the United States claims it has been under cyber attack.

Last week, the administration accused the Russian government of cyber attacks stretching back at least two years that targeted the US power grid. Washington imposed new sanctions on 19 Russians and five groups, including Moscow’s intelligence services, for meddling in the 2016 US presidential election and other cyber attacks.

The Iranian individuals who the US claims have been involved in the cyber attack are: Gholamreza Rafatnejad, Ehsan Mohammadi, Seyyed Ali Mirkarimi, Mostafa Sadeqi, Sajjad Tahmasebi, Abdollah Karima, Abuzar Gohari Moqaddam, Ruzbeh Sabahi, Mohammad Reza Sabahi and Behzad Mesri.