It’s just the latest “name and shame” effort by the U.S. to publicly denounce (and indict) foreign hackers.
The Justice Department is allegedly working on an indictment for Iranian hackers who attempted to infiltrate the operational controls for New York’s Bowman Avenue Dam in 2013.
Though the attackers did manage to get into some systems at the dam, they were unable to gain any kind of access to more critical controls.
However, CNN reports that said hackers allegedly accomplished their intrusion using off-the-shelf tools—which suggests that the hack itself wasn’t all that sophisticated.
It is, however, a bit alarming that it didn’t take very much for the attackers to make at least a little headway against a fairly large target (albeit one that’s just a minor piece of U.S. infrastructure, as some U.S. officials described).
“We obviously take seriously all such malicious activity in cyberspace. We are going to continue to use all the tools at our disposal to prevent, deter, detect, counter, and mitigate that kind of activity,” said State Department spokesman Mark Toner, when asked about the upcoming indictment at a recent news briefing.
The Justice Department is likely to announce its indictment next week.
If so, this would continue the “name and shame” campaign the Obama administration has used to address big-name hacks over the past few years.
That includes the hack of Sony Pictures Entertainment, which the administration publicly called out North Korea for sponsoring in December 2014.
The administration also called out China in May 2014 when it filed indictments against five military officials accused of hacking various American businesses.
The indictment noted that the individuals “maintained unauthorized access to victim computers to steal information from these entities that would be useful.”
China’s foreign ministry responded a day later with a statement condemning the United States’ own alleged hacking efforts.
Iranian cyber attacks are reportedly on the rise at the moment, and the U.S. government is said to be deploying more resources to address the issue.
At the time of the cyber attack on the Bowman Avenue Dam, Iran was also allegedly trying to launch similar probes against financial institutions’ systems as well.