Nine Iranians have been charged as part of massive state-sponsored cyber theft campaign that targeted hundreds of universities, companies and government entities in the U.S. and abroad, federal authorities announced Friday.
The suspects, all affiliates of an Iranian-based company known as the Mabna Institute, allegedly breached the computer systems of the U.S. Department Labor, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the United Nations and the states of Hawaii and Indiana, federal officials said.
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said Friday that the suspects allegedly stole more than 31 terabytes of data from 140 American universities, 30 U.S. companies and five government agencies, while targeting 176 universities abroad.
"For many of these intrusions, the defendants acted at the behest of the Iranian government and, specifically, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps," Rosenstein said.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman characterized the coordinated cyber attacks as "one of the largest state-sponsored hacking campaigns ever prosecuted."
"The hackers targeted innovations and intellectual property from our country's greatest minds," Berman said. "These defendants are now fugitives from American justice, no longer free to travel outside Iran without risk of arrest."