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

Credential-stealing malware / User accounts compromised / Software vulnerability

Android Malware Infects More than 1M Phones, Adds 13,000 Devices a Day

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:

  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

    Download
  • PIV- I And Multifactor Authentication: The Best Defense for Federal Government Contractors

    This white paper explores NIST SP 800-171 and why compliance is critical to federal government contractors, especially those that work with the Department of Defense, as well as how leveraging PIV-I credentialing with multifactor authentication can be used as a defense against cyberattacks

    Download
  • Toward A More Innovative Government

    This research study aims to understand how state and local leaders regard their agency’s innovation efforts and what they are doing to overcome the challenges they face in successfully implementing these efforts.

    Download
  • From Volume to Value: UK’s NHS Digital Provides U.S. Healthcare Agencies A Roadmap For Value-Based Payment Models

    The U.S. healthcare industry is rapidly moving away from traditional fee-for-service models and towards value-based purchasing that reimburses physicians for quality of care in place of frequency of care.

    Download
  • GBC Flash Poll: Is Your Agency Safe?

    Federal leaders weigh in on the state of information security

    Download
  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

    Download

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