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US Announces ‘Massive and Brazen’ Hacking Scheme by Iran By Rick Moran

The US Department of Justice announced indictments against nine Iranians and the company they worked for who stole data valued in the billions of dollars from professors and others.

The Iranians were part of a huge scheme to steal valuable research and intellectual property from US and foreign universities. In addition to the indictments, the Justice Department recommended sanctioning the individuals and the company, the Mabna Institute.

The US directly connected the hacking operation to the Iranian government, saying the hackers were working for the Revolutionary Guards.


“(W)e have unmasked criminals who normally work in total anonymity, hiding behind the ones and zeros of computer code,” said Manhattan US Attorney Geoffrey Berman, who called it a “massive and brazen cyberassault.”

The move from the Justice Department and Treasury follows other US efforts to indict foreign government-linked cyberattackers, including special counsel Robert Mueller’s indictment of Russian operatives for meddling in the 2016 US election, and the Obama administration’s indictment of Chinese military members for the government-sponsored hacking of US companies.

It also comes at a time of tension with Iran, long an adversary of the US. As President Donald Trump reshuffles his national security and diplomacy team, including firing Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and national security adviser H.R. McMaster, experts speculate Trump may be laying the groundwork to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal that the Obama administration negotiated, though Iran’s cyber efforts were not part of that deal.

Iran Hacking Operation Swiped 15B Pages of Academic Data, Infiltrated Government Agencies By Bridget Johnson

WASHINGTON — Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein today announced the indictment of nine Iranians accused of perpetrating a large-scale hacking campaign on U.S. colleges and businesses on behalf of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

Gholamreza Rafatnejad, 38, Ehsan Mohammadi, 37, Abdollah Karima aka Vahid Karima, 39, Mostafa Sadeghi, 28, Seyed Ali Mirkarimi, 34, Mohammed Reza Sabahi, 26, Roozbeh Sabahi, 24, Abuzar Gohari Moqadam, 37, and Sajjad Tahmasebi, 30, all citizens and residents of Iran, are charged with computer fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy and identity theft in conducting a coordinated campaign since 2013 of cyber intrusions into computer systems belonging to 144 U.S. universities, 176 universities across 21 foreign countries, 47 domestic and foreign private sector companies, the U.S. Department of Labor, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the state of Hawaii, the state of Indiana, the United Nations, and the United Nations Children’s Fund.

They worked for the Iran-based Mabna Institute, which was also sanctioned by Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control today along with the nine defendants.

Altogether, the hackers stole more than 31 terabytes of academic data and intellectual property from universities, and email accounts of employees at private sector companies, government agencies, and non-governmental organizations, said the DOJ.

At a news conference today, Rosenstein said the Justice Department is “working with foreign law enforcement agencies and providing the private sector with information that will help to neutralize Mabna’s hacking infrastructure.”

“By bringing these criminal charges, we reinforce the norm that most of the civilized world accepts: Nation-states should not steal intellectual property for the purpose of giving domestic industries a competitive advantage,” he said. “As a result of the indictment, these defendants are now fugitives from justice. There are more than 100 countries where they may face arrest and extradition to the United States. And, thanks to the Treasury Department, the defendants will find it difficult to engage in business or financial transactions outside of Iran.”

U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman said the defendants “targeted more than 100,000 accounts of university professors around the world and, by tricking professors to click on false links, compromised 8,000 accounts,” and “once they gained access to these accounts, the defendants stole massive amounts of academic data and intellectual property.”

“The universities combined had to pay $3.4 billion to access this information. The defendants got it for free,” Berman said. “They targeted data and research from all fields, including science and technology, engineering, social science, medical and other professional fields.”

The stolen documents amounted to more than 15 billion pages of data, he said, comprising “the innovations and intellectual property of some of our country’s greatest minds.”

In the private-sector hacking, the Iranians allegedly infiltrated law firms, technology companies, consulting companies, financial services firms, health care companies, biotechnology companies and others. CONTINUE AT SITE

How Facebook and Social Media Promote Terrorism by Uzi Shaya

The failure by the social media networks to enforce the prevention of terror-related content on their sites is, in fact, a direct violation of the Antiterrorism Act and the Material Supply Statutes; the general public is also in its right to have the protections of the Community Decency Act of 1996 cover content on social media.
The conclusion is that the social media companies are adopting an adversarial case-by-case approach to enforcing a ban on terror incitement on their platforms.

The nature of Islamic terrorism throughout the world has changed in recent years. Alongside the established and organized groups — such as Hezbollah, Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and even ISIS — a new and different type terror has been created, one that is nourished ideologically, spiritually, and intellectually by these groups, yet shows no connection — organizationally or operationally– to them.

This terror is defined by what we refer to as “lone wolves.” These are individuals whose nationalistic motives, religious incitement or psychological needs propel them to commit acts of terror without being a member of an organized group or cell. The one unifying aspect for all these lone wolves is social media.

Social media networks enable any individual to have his voice and his opinions heard so that his proclamations can resonate with audiences that are far-reaching. Unfortunately, the existing freedoms on social media have been manipulated by terrorist groups to create a threat that poses a clear and present danger to citizens around the world.

Terrorist groups around the world have recognized the potential of social media and these networks have become an essential component — in fact, an unhindered course of action — in allowing the global terrorist networks greatly to expand the operations of terror groups and their supporters worldwide, and affect billions of people around the world. These operations and activities include disseminating “open messages,” the recruitment of new members and supporters, but most importantly to advertise and promote the essence of their terror movement and the glorified aftermath of attacks that they have perpetrated. In the process, the terrorist groups can reach a potential army of a million possible soldiers without any direct connection to them.

Officials Confirm Russian Hackers Can Shut Down U.S. Power Plants At Will By Jack Crowe

State-sponsored Russian hackers currently possess the ability to shut down U.S. power plants should they so choose.

The hackers gained access to critical control systems at numerous unspecified power plants beginning in the spring of 2017, allowing them to disrupt the facilities’ operations at will, according to a Department of Homeland Security report released Thursday.

Moscow continues to enjoy access to the machines controlling the power plants and could theoretically disrupt their operations given the requisite level of Russo–American hostilities, multiple government officials and private security professionals confirmed to the New York Times Friday.

“We now have evidence they’re sitting on the machines, connected to industrial control infrastructure, that allow them to effectively turn the power off or effect sabotage,” said Eric Chien, a security technology director at Symantec, a digital security firm. “From what we can see, they were there. They have the ability to shut the power off. All that’s missing is some political motivation.”

DHS and the FBI first warned utilities companies of the emerging threat in June, roughly a year and a half after intelligence agencies first became aware that Russia had redoubled their efforts to infiltrate critical U.S. infrastructure.

Gov’t ‘Fusion Centers’ Spying on Patriots in all 50 States Intimidation used against activist who sought information on mosque. Leo Hohmann

Brenda Arthur received an unexpected visit on March 8 that, one week later, leaves her feeling more than a little uneasy.

At her door that day was an officer with the West Virginia State Police. He wanted to know about her involvement in a Freedom of Information request regarding a local mosque.

Arthur, who will turn 67 this summer, is leader of the West Virginia chapter of ACT For America, whose mission is to educate Americans about the advancement of Islamic principles in Western societies.

As a Jewish American, she was concerned about a major expansion of the Islamic Association of West Virginia in her hometown of South Charleston. This mosque has hosted an openly anti-Semitic preacher in the past, and so she went to city hall in late January to have a look at its construction permits and site plans, something that is within the right of every American citizen under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act and state open-records laws.

She had no idea that this perfectly legal activity, performed every day by citizen watchdogs across the U.S., would prompt a visit from the state police.

Arthur was not available to answer the door when Sgt. R.C. Workman came knocking, but Workman left his business card with a hand-written note on the back:

“Brenda: Please contact me at: 304-573-6190.”

Workman’s unit is part of the West Virginia Intelligence Exchange, a secretive outfit that works closely with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s “intelligence fusion center” in West Virginia.

The Growing Iranian Cyber Security Threat The most underestimated weapon in Iran’s arsenal. Ari Lieberman

When it comes to cyber security, much attention has been focused on Russia due to that nation’s recent cyber efforts to interfere with the 2016 general election. This includes the creation of bots to spread fake news as well as attempts to penetrate voter registration rolls. China too is active in this new realm of virtual warfare engaging in systematic efforts to steal Western technology. China’s J-20 and J-31 fifth generation jet fighters are said to be based on stealth technology stolen from the United States. China also hacked into U.S. Steel’s computers and stole trade secrets for advanced, high-strength steel and then incorporated that technology in its own manufacturing processes. Other bad actors include North Korea which, in 2014, infamously hacked Sony Pictures Entertainment and also engaged in attempts to digitally loot banking institutions including an unsuccessful effort to loot the Federal Reserve to the tune of $1 billion.

But when it comes to mischief-making, it’s a sure bet that the Islamic Republic is lurking and cyber terrorism is no exception. While Iran’s cyber hacking operatives have not reached the level of sophistication and capability of their Russian and Chinese partners in crime, they are very active in this new area of virtual warfare and are learning quickly.

Iran first connected to the internet in 1992, and by 2000, most Iranians were connected to the information superhighway in some form. Iranian cyber terrorists operating at the behest of the regime initially focused their activities internally; spying on dissidents and those deemed to be headaches for the regime but soon exported their mischief globally.

In 2009, Iranian hackers, calling themselves “Iranian Cyber Army” forced Twitter to shut down for several hours after the hackers defaced the site. Twitter had been used by Green Revolution activists to spread the word about Iran’s rigged 2009 elections.

In the summer of 2011, Iranian hackers struck again, this time targeting the prestigious Dutch certificate authority security company DigiNotar. The hack, which sent shudders through the world of cyber security, enabled Iranian cyber operatives to compromise the Gmail accounts of some 300,000 Iranian citizens. Iranian internal spy agencies were then able access the contents of those accounts. The embarrassing but audacious security breach forced DigiNotar into bankruptcy and dissolution.

Two Package Bombs Rock Austin Just Days After a Third Explosion By Tom Knighton

While attention is still focused on mistakes made in Parkland, Florida, another attack is unfolding in Austin as we speak. Three package bombs left on doorsteps have authorities scrambling to end a murder spree.

Reuters reports that, on Monday, a 17-year-old boy was killed and a woman injured after a package containing a bomb was opened. Another similar blast occurred later in the day.

Austin police said there is no clear motive for the two attacks, however they do believe the bombs are linked to a March 2 package bomb explosion that killed a man. Both homes targeted had black residents, but police were not able to ascribe racial motivations.

“We cannot rule out that hate crime is at the core of this, but we are not saying that that is the cause,” Reuters reports Austin Police Chief Brian Manley as saying during a news conference. CONTINUE AT SITE

Our Military’s Destructive Equality Imperative By Christopher Roach

The Obama years did much to undermine the identity and inherent conservatism of the U.S. armed forces. In addition to budget cuts and indifference about the broader mission, Obama and his deputies spent a lot of energy trying to transform its culture, particularly to relieve the military of its alleged sexism. The message was plain: the military’s primary mission would be facilitating social change. Directives to make the military more diverse, particularly for women, were promulgated from on high and gladly endorsed by an officer corps whose first imperative is career advancement. As in other respected institutions—higher education, police departments, business—when equality becomes an organizing principle, it renders excellence and ability secondary.

The cultural transformation appears to have been pretty successful, because these attempts to push women into the combat arms continue, even though Donald Trump is now president. Sadly, the president, and his well respected Defense Secretary James Mattis, have shown little interest in arresting and reversing the direction of this radical change.

Most dramatically, the United States Marine Corps recently has opened up all jobs, including infantry, armor, and artillery, to women. They have also set a goal of having 25 percent of the recruits be women.

In terms of both ability and interest, these goals are misguided. Men and women are quite simply different. Men, particularly young men, are faster, stronger, more aggressive, and more capable of meeting the higher physical standards of the military’s combat arms than women. Before gender integration certain physical standards prevailed. These standards allowed resilience and enhanced ability throughout the entire organization, whose job is physically demanding in spite of the advent of high technology weapons.

In deference to the physically demanding reality of combat, most proponents have suggested that standards should not be reduced and that so long as women meet these standards, they should be allowed to try. This is wrong, naïve even, for at least two reasons that recent experiences should make plain.

US: Muslim Calls for Murder Increasing by Judith Bergman

Far from being “isolated” events, calls for jihad against all non-Muslims began in the US several decades ago.

It would be a mistake to view the hate preached against Jews differently from the hate preached against other non-Muslims. Both are sanctioned by the Quran and the hadiths. It is this hate against anyone “other” — and that is still taken to heart by many Muslims — that drives Islamic terrorism against the West.

Muslim supremacists are apparently acceptable; white supremacists are not.

Yes, other religious books are also filled with hate verses, but as the author Bruce Bawer points out, many “Muslims still live by them.”

In December 2017, four imams — at mosques in North Carolina, New Jersey and Texas — called for killing Jews. Two of the imams quoted from a hadith that says:

“The last hour would not come unless the Muslims will fight against the Jews and the Muslims would kill them until the Jews would hide themselves behind a stone or a tree and a stone or a tree would say: Muslim, or the servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me; come and kill him”.

Two other imams, respectively, asked Allah “to destroy the Zionists and their allies, and those who assist them” and “to wreak vengeance upon the plundering oppressors”.

Prior to these December calls, in July 2017, two imams in California (Riverside and Davis) also called for killing Jews. One imam quoted the hadith above. He later apologized, claiming that “The last thing that I would do is intentionally hurt anyone, Muslim, Jewish or otherwise. It is not in my heart”.

It may not be in his heart, but it was in his mouth, and it is in the Quran and the hadiths, which are filled[1] with supremacist and violent references not only to Jews, but to all non-Muslims.


A growing number of fashion runways and department stores promote the hijab as the latest “chic” thing to wear, a “fashionable identity symbol.” The buying power of fast-growing Muslim communities in the West is being used by Islamist to entice designers to present the “latest trend” with models who wear “covered-up clothes, heads in the swathing scarves.”

The power of the Islamist purse, supported by politically correct media and progressive identity propaganda, also helps to promote the hijab at many workplaces, even those with strict dress code banning any religious symbol.
The hijab is forbidden throughout the air travel industry (except in Saudi Arabia; Iran; and Aceh, Indonesia). Nonetheless, it has become a powerful tool for shakedowns by Islamist groups masquerading as “civil rights” activists in Europe and the United States.

Such Islamist groups are using lawfare to intimidate and extort Western industries, institutions, and private companies. Their objective is clear: force acceptance of Islamic customs, even though they contradict secular, globally accepted industry standards and corporate policies. These groups have been targeting U.S. aviation and aerospace firms.

Taking advantage of Western democratic systems, well-funded entities such as the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) are constantly attempting to impose Islamic religious values and practices on the West, severely undermining freedom of speech and intimidating citizens. Consequently, people fearing backlash and false accusations often choose to not speak up, even when their own safety is imperiled. Lawfare has proven to be a useful weapon.