Iran-linked hackers found to have targeted US, Israeli maritime and defence firms

Microsoft have shared hackers sympathetic to Iranian national interests have been targeting US and Israeli defence technology and global maritime businesses.

The software giant said that the attacks – which started in July this year – targeted the Office 365 accounts of over 250 Microsoft users. Despite this, less than 20 of the victims were successfully compromised.

According to Cyberscoop, other targeted industries included defence firms supporting the EU as well as geographical information systems and regional ports in the Persian Gulf.

The publication noted that hackers attempted to break into the accounts using password spraying, a technique in which hackers rapidly cycle through different passwords in an attempt to access an account.

Microsoft added that the hacking attempts ‘likely supports the national interests of the Islamic Republic of Iran’ and the attacks’ techniques and targets align with other Iran-sponsored campaigns.

Microsoft researchers said, “Microsoft assesses this targeting supports Iranian government tracking of adversary security services and maritime shipping in the Middle East to enhance their contingency plans. Given Iran’s past cyber and military attacks against shipping and maritime targets, Microsoft believes this activity increases the risk to companies in these sectors.”

Security company FireEye recently claimed that Chinese spies pretended to be Iranian hackers for two years to break into Israeli government and telecommunication networks.

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