The Department of Justice is indicting three Iranian men in a ransomware attack on U.S. infrastructure and government. But it is unlikely they will ever actually see the inside of a courtroom. The DOJ unsealed the indictment against the three Iranian nationals on Wednesday.
Mansour Ahmadi, Ahmad Khatibi Aghda and Amir Hossein Nickaein Ravari engaged in a scheme to gain unauthorized access to the computer systems of hundreds of victims, according to the indictment. The men are accused of targeting electric utilities, governments, small businesses, non-profits, hospitals and individuals. The hackers went after groups in the U.S., U.K., Israel, Russia and their home country of Iran.
The DOJ sanctioned the three men directly, saying they are part of a hacking-for-hire operation and sought only to enrich themselves and not Iran. However, the Department of Justice said the Iranian government’s failure to follow international norms is creating a safe haven for cyber criminals to flourish.
The Biden administration is also considering sanctions for several entities in Iran for offering a bounty to kill author Salman Rushdie.
In August, Rushdie was stabbed 10-15 times in New York before he was to give a lecture.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the 15th Khordad Foundation, a supposed charitable organization in Iran, and dozens of state-run media outlets offered millions of dollars to anyone who murdered the author.
In 1989, Iran’s former Supreme Ayatollah issued a fatwah, or Islamic edict, demanding Rushdie’s death over a novel which fictionalized elements of the Prophet Mohammad’s life.