EXECUTIVE SUMMARY:

Approximately 8,000 professors at numerous US and foreign universities have been allegedly hacked, according to the Trump administration. An indictment from the Department of Justice (DOJ) charges that hackers linked to the Iranian government breached the educators’ accounts, along with private and government organizations, to steal data and intellectual property.

In response, CNN reports that the Treasury Department is seeking to impose sanctions on nine Iranians and their employer, The Mabna Institute. The charges against them include¬†conspiracy to commit computer intrusions, wire fraud, unauthorized access of a computer and aggravated identity theft.¬†“The nine alleged hackers carried out a sophisticated worldwide campaign since at least 2013 to pull off their cyberheist of more than 30 terabytes of academic data and other sensitive information,” writes¬†Tal Kopan from CNN. The cyberattackers were going after intellectual property that included academic journals, dissertations, and ebooks.

Kopan reports, “To break into the accounts, the sophisticated campaign started by studying each target in a reconnaissance phase, then using that information to send specialized emails to the targets that appeared to come from other university professors expressing interest in a recently published work, with links to other research that were actually links to malicious websites that would mimic the professor’s login page and steal his or her login information and use it to access their accounts.”

In addition, the hackers have also been accused of a less sophisticated data breach operation that targeted employees in government and non-government organizations, which included the Department of Labor, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission among others.

Get the full story at CNN.