The U.S. Justice Department has charged seven Iranians working for the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps for attempting cyberattacks against dozens of U.S. banks and a failed attempt to take over a Rye, N.Y., dam. The incident is noteworthy due to the fact that it is, to date, the first time President Obama’s administration has sought action against the Iranian cyber criminals who began attacking banks back in 2011. Though the indictment stops short of naming the Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps as the direct assailants, it does make mention of “seven experienced Iranian hackers who performed work on behalf of the Iranian government, including the Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps.” Though the statement does not mention any possible motivations for the attacks, most experts assume they were in retaliation to an American-headed cyber-attack on Iran’s main nuclear enrichment plant, which occurred in 2010.
The attacks did not take virus form and were limited to DDoS attacks that affected the New York Stock Exchange, AT&T and others. Because nothing was stolen or infiltrated, the DDoS are being considered a warning shot from Iran. The belief is that the Iranians who were indicted will not face punishment and will not be subject to appear in any court of law, with the belief that the indictment will send a message to, and strike fear in, any future cyber terrorists.