World Bulletin / News Desk
The United States on Thursday announced computer hacking charges against seven Iranians working for firms linked to the Iranian government, accusing them of infiltrating dozens of American banks and a major New York dam.
The hacking of nearly 50 banks and financial institutions from 2011 to 2013 saw the organizations lose tens of millions of dollars in remediation costs and the dam attack could have imperiled public health, prosecutors said.
It came as the US Treasury named three outfits involved in Iran's ballistic missile program to its sanctions blacklist and one day after a consultant to the Iranian mission at the United Nations was released on a $3 million bond after being charged with conspiracy and money laundering.
The developments cut through hopes eight months ago that the nuclear deal reached between Iran, the United States and five other nations would put Tehran and Washington relations on a firmer footing.
The hacking suspects were employed by two private computer security companies in Iran, named as ITSec Team and Mersad Co., that performed work on behalf of the government, including the powerful Revolutionary Guard Corps, the US said.
In what prosecutors called "a frightening new frontier for cybercrime," one suspect allegedly hacked into the system that controls the Bowman Avenue Dam in Rye, New York, less than 30 miles (50 kilometers) north of Manhattan.
"Although no actual harm resulted from that infiltration, the potential havoc of such a hack of American infrastructure could wreak is scary to think about," Manhattan chief prosecutor Preet Bharara told reporters.
Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the charges after an unsealed three-count indictment from a New York grand jury detailed how the defendants allegedly disabled servers to stop businesses from working online.
The New York Stock Exchange, NASDAQ, American Express, Bank of America, J.P. Morgan Chase, Citibank and HSBC were among those affected, according to the 17-page indictment.
Last Mod: 25 Mart 2016, 09:01