There's been a lot of news coverage over the past year about state-sponsored hackers from China targeting the U.S. government, contractors and private businesses. But, there's another country that businesses should worry about, too. According to the FBI and cybersecurity professionals, dangerous Iranian hackers are targeting businesses around the world, including in the U.S.
Companies at risk include government defense contractors, educational institutions and energy companies. Security firm Cyclance said it has already identified 50 hacked companies around the globe. It's calling the string of hacks Operation Cleaver. The FBI is saying most of the hacks have come from two IP addresses in Iran.
The FBI hasn't blamed the attacks on the Iranian government, though, but Cylance "believes Iran's government is behind the campaign". Iran is denying any involvement in the hacks.
Iranian hackers were also blamed earlier in the year for an attack on Las Vegas Sands Casino. It's believed the hackers wanted to strike back against CEO Sheldon Adelson who had suggested detonating a nuclear bomb in the Iranian desert.
The FBI has issued a confidential "Flash" report on the hacks that includes more information on the malware used and tips for protecting businesses. The report wasn't released to the public, but the FBI is encouraging businesses that may have been hacked to contact the agency.
Iran has invested a lot of money to improve it's cyber skills in recent years, which could explain the recent string of attacks. The country began focusing more heavily on the area after the Stuxnet virus damaged its nuclear program.
This is just the latest reminder about how careful we all have to be with our computers, especially if you own a business in a targeted industry. Make sure you keep your anti-virus and security software updated so that it can effectively fight new viruses.
And, if you believe your business has been compromised, the best thing you can do is contact the FBI to take advantage of its skills and resources.