Hackers from the sanctioned nation of Iran have allegedly hacked several servers of the United States government as a means of installing software to mine digital currencies. These hackers also allegedly sought to steal various network passwords and compromise the nation’s systems.
Iran May Have Compromised the U.S.
It is believed that hacking attempts by Iran may have started back in February of this year. This means that U.S. networks have been in danger for ten months, and regulators only seem to be aware of the situation now. It is alleged that the hackers exploited vulnerabilities the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) began warning about several months ago. Either nobody listened or the information fell on deaf ears.
It is alleged that hackers from Iran are sponsored by members of the region’s government. This shouldn’t come as a surprise given that Iran and the U.S. have never been on the best terms. Situations like this have occurred with other U.S. enemies in the past, a perfect example being the Lazarus hacking group in North Korea.
Lazarus has been caught stealing cryptocurrencies on multiple occasions as a means of funding the nuclear arms program of its home nation of North Korea, another region that has not always been friendly with or to the United States. Both Iran and North Korea are presently dealing with various sanctions enforced by the U.S., which has prevented them from gaining access to standard or traditional financial outlets.
As a result, it appears both have turned to cryptocurrencies to get what they want. In the case of North Korea, Lazarus has been utilized to hack exchanges and digital accounts in multiple countries, one of which was the United States, to garner digital funds so the nation could continue to build and test nuclear arms. It is estimated that the amount of money stolen by Lazarus at press time is in the billions.
It has also been suggested that various digital currency companies have either helped these nations avoid U.S. sanctions or engage in cryptocurrency transactions regardless of whether they were lawful. Recently, crypto exchange Binance faced criticism after it was alleged the company helped the nation of Iran take part in roughly $8 billion worth of crypto transactions.
Governments Use Hackers Against Their Enemies
Binance later defended its actions, claiming it enforces a top vetting process for all parties engaging in trades and that it didn’t notice anything that would arouse suspicion.
Governments of these countries along with others like China will often hire hackers as contractors. This gives top-standing individuals in those chains of government plausible deniability, meaning they can say they knew nothing of what was going on, nor did they have any control. On several occasions, Iran has denied illegally accessing U.S. data systems.