Iranian hackers accused of causing hundreds of millions in damages worldwide
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Iranian hackers accused of causing hundreds of millions in damages worldwide

Microsoft researchers say attackers stole secrets and wiped data from some 200 companies in last two years

The vandalized home page of a Saudi website displays Farsi-language slogans and the words "Hacked by Iranian Hackers" in this Thursday, June 8, 2017 photograph taken in London. As tensions flare between Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Iran and their allies, reports of hacking are emerging across the Gulf. (AP Photo/Raphael Satter)
The vandalized home page of a Saudi website displays Farsi-language slogans and the words "Hacked by Iranian Hackers" in this Thursday, June 8, 2017 photograph taken in London. As tensions flare between Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Iran and their allies, reports of hacking are emerging across the Gulf. (AP Photo/Raphael Satter)

WASHINGTON — Iranian hackers working to penetrate systems, businesses and governments around the world have caused hundreds of millions of dollars in damages, a report said Wednesday.

Researchers for tech giant Microsoft said the attackers stole secrets and wiped data from computer networks after targeting thousands of people at some 200 companies over the past two years, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Microsoft did not immediately respond to an AFP query on the report.

The Journal said Microsoft traced the attacks to Holmium, a group linked to Iran, and that some of the hacking was done for Holmium by another Iranian group known as APT33.

John Lambert, the head of Microsoft’s Threat Intelligence Center, told the newspaper the attacks were “massively destabilizing events.”

Alister Shepherd, the director of a subsidiary of the cybersecurity firm FireEye, gestures during a presentation about the APT33 hacking group, which his firm suspects are Iranian government-aligned hackers, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, on September 18, 2018. (AP Photo/Jon Gambrell)

The report said the hackers notably targeted oil-and-gas companies, heavy-machinery manufacturers and international conglomerates in Saudi Arabia, Germany, Britain, India and the United States.

In 2017, the security firm FireEye blamed APT33 for destructive malware that targeted organizations in the Middle East and elsewhere.

The news comes with Iran, according to security experts, seeking to step up its cyber capabilities amid increasing efforts by the United States to isolate the Islamic regime.

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