(Bloomberg) -- Iranian hackers who masqueraded as members of the right-wing group Proud Boys during the 2020 U.S. presidential election have expanded their efforts, broadening their cyberattacks against a wide swatch of business sectors and spreading propaganda critical of Saudi Arabia, the FBI said Wednesday.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s notification to private businesses said the group, known as Emennet Pasargad, conducted “traditional cyber exploitation activity” since 2018 that has targeted news, shipping, travel, oil, financial and telecommunications companies. Those include firms in the U.S., Europe and the Middle East. In late 2018, for instance, the group masqueraded as the “Yemen Cyber Army” and crafted messages that disparaged Saudi Arabia, according to the FBI.
The FBI said Emennet hackers mask their activity by deploying attacks through virtual private networks, or VPNs. The bureau said Emennet favors websites that run certain software programs, including WordPress, which hackers can exploit to carry out their attacks.
The government said users should keep their anti-virus and anti-malware programs updated, patch outdated software and use reputable web hosting companies.
In October, the Justice Department announced that two Iranian men were charged with interfering in the 2020 election by hacking confidential voter information and sending threatening emails purportedly from the Proud Boys. The bogus emails warned tens of thousands of Democrats to vote for Donald Trump for president.
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