Iran-sponsored hackers have targeted Israel, Saudis, Turkey since 2014


WASHINGTON — Hackers linked to the Iranian government have conducted a long-term cyber espionage operation against government and industry in Israel, Kuwait, Lebanon, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates, according to FireEye, a cyber security firm.

In a new report, FireEye says the operation by the group it dubs APT34 is “largely focused on reconnaissance efforts to benefit Iranian nation-state interests and has been operational since at least 2014.”

The mostly Middle Eastern targets include government agencies and private industries, including financial, energy, chemical, and telecommunications sectors, the company says.

FireEye bases its assessment that APT34 works on behalf of the Iranian government on clues that include references to Iran, the use of Iranian infrastructure, and targeting that aligns with Iran’s interests.

The hackers sometimes breached networks through spearphishing, a technique designed to get users to open a file in email that secretly installs malware on their computer.

Image: Iranian President Rouhani Attends Gathering of IRGC Commanders

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, left, attends the 21st Nationwide Assembly of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Commanders on Sept. 15, 2015 in Tehran.