Politics

Iranian hackers charged with voter intimidation campaign that included state election site breach

Kazemi and Kashian should not in U.S. custody.

False delight: The newly unsealed expenses join Kazemi and Kashian to a voter intimidation campaign that Trump administration officers attributed to Iran within the waning days of the 2020 campaign. The hackers masqueraded as members of the far-right extremist group the Proud Boys, sending emails that included the risk, “You’ll vote for Trump on Election Day or we are going to come after you,” U.S. authorities stated on the time.

Earlier this yr, the U.S. intelligence group stated in its 2020 election autopsy that Iran had waged a “covert affect campaign meant to undercut” then-President Donald Trump’s campaign with out immediately selling his rivals, partially to “sow division and exacerbate societal tensions.” Iranian Supreme Chief Ali Khamenei licensed the campaign, which included each “messaging and cyber operations,” the intelligence group stated.

Rattling the doorknobs: Kazemi and Kashian tried to hack into “roughly 11 state voter web sites” in September and October 2020, prosecutors stated. In a single case, they discovered and efficiently breached “a misconfigured pc system” belonging to a state election workplace, which allowed them to obtain non-public voter knowledge.

Leveraging a megaphone: On Nov. 4, 2020, the day after the election, the hackers tried to log right into a media firm’s web site utilizing credentials they’d stolen in the course of the earlier two months, in line with the indictment. “Due to an earlier FBI sufferer notification,” the indictment stated, the corporate “had by that time mitigated the conspirators’ unauthorized entry and these log-in makes an attempt failed.”

The fees: Kazemi and Kashian, whom prosecutors described as “skilled” hackers, face one rely of conspiracy to commit pc fraud and abuse, intimidate voters and transmit interstate threats; one rely of voter intimidation; and one rely of transmission of interstate threats. Kazemi faces two extra counts, one for unauthorized pc intrusion and one for pc fraud.

Sanctions for good measure: The Treasury Division on Thursday sanctioned Kazemi, Kashian and three of their colleagues at the Iranian technology firm for his or her position in Iranian cyber operations.

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