Iranian minister sanctioned by US Treasury for hacking government and allies

The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the US Department of the Treasury has sanctioned Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) and its intelligence minister over allegations of engaging in cyber-enabled activities against the United States and its allies.

The MOIS is said to have guided several network connections of cyberthreat actors engaged in cyberespionage and ransomware attacks in assistance of Iran’s political goals under Esmail Khatib’s leadership.

The MuddyWater ransomware operations against Turkish government entities in November 2021, the APT39 widespread theft of personally identifiable information (PII) in 2020, and, most recently, the cyber activity that directly impacted Albanian government websites are examples of these. These sanctions come just weeks after Microsoft revealed details of alleged hacking campaigns linked to MuddyWater that targeted Israeli organisations by exploiting Log4j 2 vulnerabilities in SysAid applications.