US media is reporting that the State Department is offering a $10 million reward for information on two hackers who allegedly participated in an Iranian state-sponsored cyber operation targeting the 2020 US presidential election. According to the Cyberscoop report:
February 2, 2022: The State Department is offering a $10 million reward for information on two Iranian hackers who allegedly participated in state-sponsored cyber operations designed to interfere with the 2020 U.S. presidential election. The two individuals, Seyyed Mohammad Hosein Musa Kazemi, 24, and Sajjad Kashian, 27, were charged with computer fraud, voter intimidation and transmission of interstate threats according to a federal indictment unsealed in November. The activity took place between August 2020 and November 2020. The State Department is offering the reward under its “Rewards for Justice” program, which has posted equal bounties for information about ransomware groups DarkSide and REvil. The indictment of the Iranians painted a picture of an extensive operation aimed at fomenting partisan divides ahead of the 2020 election. The campaign included allegedly sending threatening emails to Florida Democrats aimed at intimidating them into voting for Trump, while posing as the right-wing nationalist group Proud Boys. U.S. intelligence quickly deemed that the emails were created by spoofing legitimate domains and were part of a foreign interference effort.
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The announcement of the US reward can be found here.
GIOR reported on the hackers’ indictment in November 2021.
Iran is one of the most active influence actors in its use of hackers and other cyber operations. The country also employs an extensive network of affiliated groups and organizations such as the Islamic Center of England. Iran also funds PressTV, a global media operation supporting its goals.