The Associated Press, or AP, reported on the attempted attacks Thursday. The AP’s report was based on information collected during an investigation by the internet security company Certfa, which is based in London.
AP said the group, known as Charming Kitten, is believed to have tried to break into the private emails of more than 12 U.S. Treasury officials. The attempts took place over the past month. Other targets included well-known defenders, opponents and enforcers of an international nuclear deal signed in 2015 with Iran.
In addition, the hackers sought to break into the emails of some Arab nuclear scientists and Iranian civil society members. Employees of major American research groups, known as think tanks, were also targeted.
One target was Frederick Kagan, who works for the American Enterprise Institute, a think tank based in Washington. Kagan has repeatedly written about Iranian cyberespionage efforts.
“Presumably, some of this is about figuring out what is going on with sanctions,” Kagan told the AP. He was speaking about economic sanctions the U.S. has placed on Iran. The latest sanctions, on Iran’s oil and financial industry, were announced last month.
Those restrictions officially cut off trade ties the U.S. permitted Iran after a nuclear agreement was completed in 2015. The U.S., Britain, China, France, Russia and Germany signed that agreement, along with Iran.
U.S. President Donald Trump announced last May that the U.S. would withdraw from the agreement. Trump said the deal permitted Iran to continue secretly developing nuclear weapons and provided it money to support violence across the Middle East.
Read more: VOA News
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