In the first major operation against Iran since Tehran signed a nuclear treaty, European officials and authorities took action to terminate a cyber espionage operation with ties to Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guard. The operation was reported by security researchers who identified and located computers used to launch cyber attacks.
Since 2014, security experts have hunted the hacker group known as “Rocket Kitten.” The group has repeatedly launched cyber attacks on many high-profile political and defense individuals on a global scale since that time.
The actions of the security experts are likely to hamper Iran’s efforts to identify and gather intelligence from its rivals such as the United States, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Israel and Venezuela. These nations were all targeted in some way by Rocket Kitten’s cyber attacks.
Researchers from the joint United States-Israeli security firm, Check Point Software, indicated that 1,600 high-profile targets of the cyber attacks include members of the Saudi royal family, NATO officials, Israeli nuclear scientists, Iranian dissidents and even the wives of high-ranking generals from several, unnamed countries.
The security firm said it had relayed its information to the national computer security response teams in the United Kingdom, Germany and the Netherlands, who then alerted police in the various countries to the locations of “command and control” servers used to launch attacks remotely- controlled from Iran.
The actions by the European authorities come at a time when United States President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meet on Monday for the first time since the Israeli leader unsuccessfully pleaded with the United States to not reach a nuclear deal with Iran. Security issues will be discussed by the two world leaders.
According to Check Point’s report, the firm’s cyber experts dug deep into the hacker group’s operations and obtained a map of “malicious software tools” and computers operated by remote controls.