recommended reading

Cyberspies Seen Targeting U.S. Plans on Iran Nuclear Work

An Iranian technician works at the Uranium Conversion Facility just outside the city of Isfahan in 2007.

An Iranian technician works at the Uranium Conversion Facility just outside the city of Isfahan in 2007. // AP file photo

Analysts say a possible 3-year computer offensive has targeted details on U.S. nuclear diplomacy with Iran, the Wall Street Journalreports.

Individuals inside Iran seem to be responsible for the apparent ongoing effort, which has involved the use of a fabricated news group to establish social-media connections with personnel in foreign governments and companies, according to a Wednesday report by the firm iSight Partners. The authors found no clear indication of sponsorship by Iran's government, and Tehran has rebuffed past accusations of electronic espionage.

The analysis, though, suggests the newly uncovered effort is geared toward gathering details on U.S. financial and negotiation strategies to contain Iran's disputed nuclear activities. Targets have included senior U.S. nonproliferation and sanctions personnel, as well as Israeli security firms and individuals lobbying on U.S.-Israeli ties, according to the findings.

The Persian Gulf power is in talks with Washington and five other governments to resolve fears that Tehran may tap its civilian atomic capabilities to build nuclear weapons. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Wednesday said "progress" came out of a two-day meeting he held this week with European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, an interlocutor for the six other negotiating powers, Agence France-Presse reported.

The iSight report says information gleaned in the apparent espionage activities could help pave the way for more harmful offensive moves, the Journal reported. Victims of the effort have primarily been in the United States and Israel, but have also included individuals in Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Syria and the United Kingdom, according to the assessment.

The analysis firm supplied its findings to the FBI and other U.S. agencies, and is collaborating with social-media groups to halt some of the operations.

Threatwatch Alert

Software vulnerability

Malware Has a New Hiding Place: Subtitles

See threatwatch report

JOIN THE DISCUSSION

Close [ x ] More from Nextgov
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from Nextgov.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Modernizing IT for Mission Success

    Surveying Federal and Defense Leaders on Priorities and Challenges at the Tactical Edge

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • Effective Ransomware Response

    This whitepaper provides an overview and understanding of ransomware and how to successfully combat it.

    Download
  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.