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Iran-linked hackers target US, Israeli medical experts: Report

Published: Updated:

Iran-linked hackers targeted dozens of senior US and Israeli medical experts over the past few months, according to an investigation by a cybersecurity group.

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An Iranian hacking group, known as “Phosphorous” or “Charming Kitten,” had targeted 25 senior researchers in the fields of genetics, neurology and oncology in the US and Israel in December 2020, an investigation by the cyber security group ProofPoint has found.

The hackers tried to gain access to the researchers’ personal data by sending them phishing emails that lead them to a page masquerading as a Microsoft login page, the Hill reported on Wednesday.

The report did not say whether the hackers were successful but said cyber-attacks on medical researchers was new for the group, as the hacking group has in the past mostly targeted academics, diplomats, journalists, and dissidents of Iran’s regime as part of its cooperation with the country’s Revolutionary Guards.

The Hill’s report described the Phosphorus as one of the most “prolific” Iran-linked hacking groups which has picked up its activities in recent years.

Last year, Microsoft said the same hacking group had tried to target about 100 senior guests at the Munich Security Conference.

In 2019, Microsoft said hundreds of its users were targeted by Phosphorus, including staffers of an unnamed presidential campaign.

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