Nine Iranian nationals were indicted for hacking into over 300 universities in the US and abroad to rip off academic data and intellectual property, according to a newly unsealed Manhattan federal indictment.
The men — who infiltrated 144 American universities and 176 institutions in 21 other countries — worked for the Iran-based company Mabna Institute, which carried out the cyberattacks “at the behest of the government of Iran, specifically the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps,” according to the court documents.
“The members of the conspiracy compromised thousands of accounts belonging to professors at victim universities and targeted academic data and intellectual property for theft,” according to the indictment, which said the hacks cost the US universities $3.4 billion.
The hackers allegedly stole 31.5 terabytes of data and intellectual property from the universities, the court documents charge.
The men also “compromised” computer networks at five government agencies, 36 private companies and two non-governmental organizations.
They are charged with seven federal felonies including conspiracy to commit computer intrusion, computer fraud, wire fraud, aggravated identity theft and other related crimes.