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US charges 3 Iranians for hacking and extortion scheme against range of US organizations


By Sean Lyngaas, CNN

Three Iranian nationals carried out a scheme to hack hundreds of organizations in the US and around the world, in some cases extorting them for personal monetary gain, the Justice Department alleged in an indictment unsealed on Wednesday.

The alleged victim organizations ranged from a domestic violence shelter in Pennsylvania, a power company in Mississippi and a municipality in Union County, New Jersey, according to charges brought in a federal court in New Jersey.

In some cases, the Iranian hackers demanded hundreds of thousands of dollars in ransom payments to unlock computers, a senior Justice Department official told reporters Wednesday.

US officials did not accuse the Iranians of acting on behalf of the Iranian government, but they cast the charges as the latest example of the Iranian state tolerating reckless behavior in cyberspace that has been costly for US businesses and government agencies alike.

Iran’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the Justice Department allegations.

The accused Iranians — Mansour Ahmadi, Ahmad Khatib Aghda and Amir Hossein Nickaein Ravari — are believed to reside in Iran, according to the senior Justice Department official. The chances of the three Iranians being taken into US custody are slim unless they travel to a country with which the US has an extradition agreement.

This story is breaking and will be updated.

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Article Topic Follows: CNN - US Politics

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