The U.S. Justice Department on Friday charged nine Iranian citizens with hacking hundreds of companies and academic institutions to steal more than $3.4 billion in trade secrets and other data on behalf of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.
The individuals charged did the hacking since 2013 and were connected to an Iran-based company called the Mabna Institute, according to an indictment unsealed Friday.
"At the crux of this case is the fact that the government of Iran systematically and methodically hacked into our country’s computer networks with the intent to steal as much information as possible," Geoffrey Berman, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, said during a press conference in Washington.
Berman said the case is one of the largest state-sponsored hacking campaigns ever prosecuted by the Justice Department. The individuals and the institute were also sanctioned by the Treasury Department.
According to the U.S., trade secrets and academic research was stolen from companies and institutions in countries across the world, including the U.S., Canada, Great Britain, Germany, Israel, China, South Korea, Japan and Australia.
In total, 15 billion pages of data were stolen from at least 144 U.S. universities, 176 universities across 21 foreign countries, 47 domestic and foreign private sector companies, the U.S. Department of Labor, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the states of Hawaii and Indiana, the United Nations and the United Nations Children’s Fund, the Justice Department alleged.
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