The United States on Thursday charged a group of alleged Iranian hackers authorities believe carried out a series of Tehran-backed cyber attacks on dozens of U.S. banks and infiltrated the supervisory control system of a small New York dam between 2011 and 2013.
An indictment, announced by Attorney General Loretta Lynch during a press conference streamed live from Washington, lists charges against seven Iranians, including three nicknamed “Nitr0jen26,” “PLuS” and “Turk Server.”
Lynch said the alleged carried out the attacks with the support of Iran’s government and with the sole purpose of undermining American companies and damaging the U.S.’s free market system.
The indictment is one of the highest-profile U.S. indictments against a foreign nation on hacking charges. The U.S. has previously publicly attributed cyber attacks on large U.S. companies to Chinese and North Korean hackers.
Investigators believe the alleged Iranian hackers, employed by two companies, were contracted by the Iranian government to attack 24 financial institutions, including Nasdaq, the New York Stock Exchange, Bank of America, Capital One Bank, U.S. Bank, among many others. Lynch said the attacks caused victims “tens of millions of dollars.”