U.S. Reaches Agreement to Release Huawei’s Meng Wanzhou

The case suggested that the Biden administration and the government of President Xi Jinping could come to some kind of accommodations in a dispute that included allegations of hostage-taking on both sides.

#biden-joseph-r-jr, #canada, #china, #embargoes-and-sanctions, #huawei-technologies-co-ltd, #iran, #justice-department, #meng-wanzhou, #spavor-michael, #telephones-and-telecommunications, #united-states, #united-states-international-relations, #xi-jinping

In Biden’s Foreign Policy, Friends and Foes Claim Echoes of Trump

President Biden’s speech at the U.N. was a stark contrast to President Donald J. Trump’s. But it came amid complaints that some of Mr. Biden’s policy moves echoed his predecessor’s approach.

#afghanistan, #afghanistan-war-2001, #biden-joseph-r-jr, #blinken-antony-j, #china, #embargoes-and-sanctions, #france, #general-assembly-un, #iran, #trump-donald-j, #united-nations, #united-states-international-relations, #united-states-politics-and-government

A new app helps Iranians hide messages in plain sight

An anti-government graffiti that reads in Farsi "Death to the dictator" is sprayed at a wall north of Tehran on September 30, 2009.

Enlarge / An anti-government graffiti that reads in Farsi “Death to the dictator” is sprayed at a wall north of Tehran on September 30, 2009. (credit: Getty Images)

Amid ever-increasing government Internet control, surveillance, and censorship in Iran, a new Android app aims to give Iranians a way to speak freely.

Nahoft, which means “hidden” in Farsi, is an encryption tool that turns up to 1,000 characters of Farsi text into a jumble of random words. You can send this mélange to a friend over any communication platform—Telegram, WhatsApp, Google Chat, etc.—and then they run it through Nahoft on their device to decipher what you’ve said.

Released last week on Google Play by United for Iran, a San Francisco–based human rights and civil liberties group, Nahoft is designed to address multiple aspects of Iran’s Internet crackdown. In addition to generating coded messages, the app can also encrypt communications and embed them imperceptibly in image files, a technique known as steganography. Recipients then use Nahoft to inspect the image file on their end and extract the hidden message.

Read 13 remaining paragraphs | Comments

#biz-it, #demonstrations, #encryption, #iran, #policy

دانشمند وربات قاتل مجهز به هوش مصنوعی و کنترل از راه دور

سال‌ها بود که ماموران اسرائیلی می‌خواستند دانشمند هسته‌ای ایران را ترور کنند. عاقبت راهی پیدا کردند تا بدون حضور مأموران در صحنه این کار را انجام دهند.

#cohen-yossi-1961, #cyberwarfare-and-defense, #fakhrizadeh-mohsen, #firearms, #haspel-gina, #iran, #islamic-revolutionary-guards-corps, #israel, #mossad, #nuclear-weapons, #remote-control-systems, #robots-and-robotics, #salehi-ali-akbar, #targeted-killings, #united-states-international-relations

The Scientist and the A.I.-Assisted, Remote-Control Killer Robot

Israeli agents had wanted to kill Iran’s top nuclear scientist for years. Then they came up with a way to do it with no operatives present.

#cohen-yossi-1961, #cyberwarfare-and-defense, #fakhrizadeh-mohsen, #firearms, #haspel-gina, #iran, #islamic-revolutionary-guards-corps, #israel, #mossad, #nuclear-weapons, #remote-control-systems, #robots-and-robotics, #salehi-ali-akbar, #targeted-killings, #united-states-international-relations

With Fuel from Iran, Hezbollah Steps In Where Lebanon Has Failed

The militant group trucked more than 1 million gallons of diesel into Lebanon, flouting U.S. sanctions and billing itself as savior to a suffering population.

#embargoes-and-sanctions, #foreign-aid, #hezbollah, #humanitarian-aid, #iran, #lebanon, #middle-east, #nasrallah-hassan, #oil-petroleum-and-gasoline, #politics-and-government, #syria, #united-states-international-relations

Iran Nears an Atomic Milestone

Edging close to a bomb’s worth of fuel is seen as a tactic to pressure the Biden administration into agreeing to a quick renewal of the 2015 nuclear deal.

#international-atomic-energy-agency, #iran, #nuclear-energy, #nuclear-weapons, #politics-and-government, #united-states, #united-states-international-relations

Iran and I.A.E.A. Reach Last-Minute Deal on Nuclear Monitoring

The temporary agreement should keep Tehran from censure for noncompliance by the nuclear agency, a move that could have derailed already suspended nuclear talks.

#arms-control-and-limitation-and-disarmament, #grossi-rafael, #international-atomic-energy-agency, #international-relations, #iran, #nuclear-energy, #nuclear-weapons, #politics-and-government, #raisi-ebrahim

Biden Vows ‘Unshakable Partnership’ With Israel in Meeting With Bennett

On Iran, a subject on which the two sharply disagree, President Biden said the United States was planning to put “diplomacy first” but “ready to turn to other options” if that fails.

#bennett-naftali, #biden-joseph-r-jr, #iran, #israel, #nuclear-weapons, #palestinians, #united-states-international-relations, #united-states-politics-and-government

Israel’s Spy Agency Snubbed the U.S. Can Trust Be Restored?

Israel’s new prime minister, Naftali Bennett, heads to Washington promising better relations and seeking support for covert attacks on Iran’s nuclear program.

#al-qaeda, #assassinations-and-attempted-assassinations, #bennett-naftali, #biden-joseph-r-jr, #burns-william-j, #central-intelligence-agency, #defense-and-military-forces, #espionage-and-intelligence-services, #iran, #israel, #mossad, #natanz-iran, #netanyahu-benjamin, #nuclear-weapons, #obama-barack, #politics-and-government, #pompeo-mike, #presidential-election-of-2020, #targeted-killings, #trump-donald-j, #united-states, #united-states-international-relations

Naftali Bennett Backs Hard Line on Iran, Softer Tone With U.S.

In an interview before meeting with President Biden, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said he opposed U.S. efforts to restore a nuclear deal with Iran and ruled out peace talks with the Palestinians.

#bennett-naftali, #biden-joseph-r-jr, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #east-jerusalem, #embargoes-and-sanctions, #gaza-strip, #hamas, #international-relations, #iran, #israel, #israeli-settlements, #jerusalem-israel, #netanyahu-benjamin, #new-york-times, #nuclear-weapons, #obama-barack, #palestinians, #peace-process, #politics-and-government, #trump-donald-j, #united-states, #united-states-international-relations, #west-bank

Afghan Refugees Find a Firm and Unfriendly Border in Turkey

Even before the last week’s harrowing scenes at the Kabul airport, thousands of Afghans were fleeing over land through Iran to Turkey. But they are being pushed back.

#afghanistan, #afghanistan-war-2001, #asylum-right-of, #deportation, #erdogan-recep-tayyip, #europe, #european-union, #illegal-immigration, #immigration-and-emigration, #immigration-detention, #iran, #merkel-angela, #middle-east-and-africa-migrant-crisis, #politics-and-government, #refugees-and-displaced-persons, #taliban, #turkey

Photographs of Afghanistan’s Post-9/11 Generation

This summer, the journalist Kiana Hayeri set out to photograph Afghans who grew up after the U.S. invasion in 2001. Instead, she wound up documenting the end of life as they knew it.

#afghanistan, #afghanistan-war-2001, #iran, #kabul-afghanistan, #music, #photography, #taliban, #theater, #women-and-girls, #youth

Hunted by the Taliban, US-Allied Afghan Forces Are in Hiding

The Afghan forces disintegrated ahead of the Taliban’s rapid advance. Now, the militants are searching for thousands of Afghan soldiers and security officials.

#afghan-national-security-forces, #afghanistan, #afghanistan-war-2001, #espionage-and-intelligence-services, #evacuations-and-evacuees, #iran, #national-directorate-of-security-afghanistan, #panjshir-valley-afghanistan, #taliban, #uzbekistan

America Needs to Start Telling the Truth About Israel’s Nukes

This charade doesn’t leave anyone safer. It’s gone on long enough. 

#arms-control-and-limitation-and-disarmament, #ben-gurion-david, #biden-joseph-r-jr, #central-intelligence-agency, #iran, #israel, #meir-golda, #middle-east, #nixon-richard-milhous, #nuclear-nonproliferation-treaty, #nuclear-tests, #nuclear-weapons, #obama-barack, #united-states-international-relations

They Were the Nice, Older Couple Next Door. Then the First Body Turned Up.

An Iranian couple has confessed to murdering and dismembering their son, years after killing a daughter and her husband. They are not sorry.

#honor-killings, #iran, #murders-attempted-murders-and-homicides, #parenting, #tehran-iran

Iranian Disinformation Effort Went Small to Stay Under Big Tech’s Radar

The effort, targeting activists in Israel, was the latest indication that governments are trying new, harder-to-detect methods to sow discontent online.

#facebook-inc, #instagram-inc, #iran, #israel, #rumors-and-misinformation, #social-media, #twitter, #whatsapp-inc

Biden Faces Intense Cross Currents in Iran Policy

The airstrikes the president ordered on Iranian-backed militias show how he has to navigate between using force and pursuing diplomacy to revive the nuclear deal.

#biden-joseph-r-jr, #blinken-antony-j, #international-atomic-energy-agency, #iran, #nuclear-weapons, #raisi-ebrahim, #terrorism, #united-states-defense-and-military-forces, #united-states-international-relations, #united-states-politics-and-government

Iraq Condemns U.S. Airstrikes on Iranian-Backed Militias

Baghdad said the attacks overnight were a violation of its sovereignty. One of the targeted militias threatened to wage “open war” on American interests in Iraq.

#defense-and-military-forces, #defense-department, #iran, #iraq, #popular-mobilization-forces-iraq, #syria, #united-states, #united-states-defense-and-military-forces, #war-and-armed-conflicts

Iran Atomic Agency Says It Thwarted Attack on a Facility

The attack was said to have been carried out by a small drone against a manufacturing center used in the production of centrifuges.

#arms-control-and-limitation-and-disarmament, #espionage-and-intelligence-services, #fakhrizadeh-mohsen, #iran, #israel, #nuclear-energy, #pompeo-mike, #presidential-election-of-2020

US seizes 33 Iranian state-run media sites accused of election disinformation

A website message that says

Enlarge / Website seizure notice that appears on presstv.com.

On Tuesday, the US government said it seized 33 websites run by a branch of the Iranian government that spread disinformation in the US before the 2020 presidential election. The US also seized three websites that it said were operated by an Iraqi terrorist organization.

Yesterday’s Department of Justice announcement said the 33 Iranian sites were used by the Iranian Islamic Radio and Television Union (IRTVU), which is owned or controlled by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Quds Force (IRGC-QF). The DOJ said the IRTVU “targeted the United States with disinformation campaigns and malign influence operations.”

“Visitors to leading Iranian media sites like Press TV and Al-Alam, the country’s main English- and Arabic-language broadcasters, as well as the Al-Masirah TV channel of Yemen’s Huthis, were met with single-page statements declaring the website ‘has been seized by the United States government’ accompanied by the seals of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the US Commerce Department,” the AFP wrote. The US also “took over the domain name of the news website Palestine Today, which reflects the viewpoints of Gaza-based Islamic militant groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad,” The Washington Post reported.

Read 14 remaining paragraphs | Comments

#election, #iran, #policy

U.S. Blocks Websites Linked to Iran at Key Point in Nuclear Talks

Officials seized the domains of about three dozen websites just days after Iran elected a new, hard-line president, and at a critical moment in nuclear negotiations.

#biden-joseph-r-jr, #commerce-department, #federal-bureau-of-investigation, #iran, #islamic-revolutionary-guards-corps, #khamenei-ali, #press-tv, #raisi-ebrahim, #trump-donald-j, #united-states-international-relations

The Hard-Liners Won in Iran. That’s Not All Bad News.

A more monolithic Iranian system that seeks stability presents Washington with an opportunity.

#elections, #iran, #khamenei-ali, #middle-east, #nuclear-weapons, #raisi-ebrahim, #supreme-national-security-council-iran

Iran Bets on Religion, Repression and Revolution

The next Iranian president’s past tells us something about the country’s future.

#elections, #international-relations, #iran, #khamenei-ali, #khomeini-ruhollah, #politics-and-government, #raisi-ebrahim

Iran’s Incoming President Vows Tough Line on Missiles and Militias

Ebrahim Raisi, Iran’s ultraconservative president-elect, said he would not meet with President Biden and that Tehran’s position on its ballistic missile program was “nonnegotiable.”

#defense-and-military-forces, #embargoes-and-sanctions, #iran, #nuclear-weapons, #raisi-ebrahim

Iran’s System Keeps Its Grip, Despite the Chaos (or Because of It)

Governments rooted in revolution like Tehran’s have proved to be among the world’s most stable, even drawing strength from crises.

#cuba, #iran, #politics-and-government

Biden’s Bet: Iranian Hard-liner May Be Best Path to Restoring Nuclear Deal

The next six weeks before a new government takes office in Tehran may be a unique window for clinching an agreement that Iran’s leadership has been delaying.

#biden-joseph-r-jr, #blinken-antony-j, #iran, #khamenei-ali, #nuclear-weapons, #tehran-iran, #united-states-international-relations

A Roadblock for Iran’s President-Elect: He’s on the U.S. Sanctions List

Ebrahim Raisi, who is accused of grave human rights violations, has also been penalized by the European Union.

#content-type-personal-profile, #embargoes-and-sanctions, #human-rights-and-human-rights-violations, #international-relations, #iran, #islamic-revolutionary-guards-corps, #politics-and-government, #raisi-ebrahim

Iran Election: Ebrahim Raisi Is Headed to Presidency as Rivals Concede

Rival candidates conceded the election to Mr. Raisi, Iran’s judiciary chief, a close ally of the supreme leader who has a record of grave human rights violations.

#elections, #embargoes-and-sanctions, #guardian-council-iran, #human-rights-and-human-rights-violations, #iran, #khamenei-ali, #politics-and-government, #raisi-ebrahim, #rouhani-hassan, #suleimani-qassim, #united-states-international-relations, #voting-and-voters

Iranians Vote for a New President, but Mood is Pessimistic

Turnout appeared low on Friday, with many voters saying they would not cast ballots in an election that they feel has been manipulated in favor of a hard-line conservative candidate.

#elections, #iran, #islamic-revolutionary-guards-corps, #khamenei-ali, #politics-and-government, #raisi-ebrahim, #tehran-iran, #voting-and-voters

Iran Activists Urge Election Boycott. Raisi Likely Winner.

Low turnout would signal a rejection of the election. But not voting gives the regime a near-certain assurance that their candidate is victorious.

#boycotts, #elections, #guardian-council-iran, #iran, #islamic-revolutionary-guards-corps, #khamenei-ali, #political-prisoners, #social-media

Many Expected to Shun Iran Vote Seen as Presidential Race of One

An ultraconservative judiciary chief appears to have the only real chance of winning after a council of powerful clerics disqualified virtually all the other viable candidates.

#elections, #guardian-council-iran, #iran, #islamic-revolutionary-guards-corps, #khamenei-ali, #raisi-ebrahim, #tehran-iran

Dear Sophie: Is it possible to expand our startup in the US?

Here’s another edition of “Dear Sophie,” the advice column that answers immigration-related questions about working at technology companies.

“Your questions are vital to the spread of knowledge that allows people all over the world to rise above borders and pursue their dreams,” says Sophie Alcorn, a Silicon Valley immigration attorney. “Whether you’re in people ops, a founder or seeking a job in Silicon Valley, I would love to answer your questions in my next column.”

Extra Crunch members receive access to weekly “Dear Sophie” columns; use promo code ALCORN to purchase a one- or two-year subscription for 50% off.


Dear Sophie,

My co-founders and I launched a software startup in Iran a few years ago, and I’m happy to say it’s now thriving. We’d like to expand our company in California.

Now that President Joe Biden has eliminated the Muslim ban, is it possible to do that? Is the pandemic still standing in the way? Do you have any suggestions?

— Talented in Tehran

Dear Talented,

Yes, it’s possible! Unfortunately, yes, the COVID-19 pandemic is still making the immigration process a bit challenging, but remember, where there’s a will, there’s most often, in immigration law, a way.

On his first day in office in January, Biden rescinded the ban on visas for many majority-Muslim countries, including Iran. The ban had been in place since 2017 and nearly 42,000 visa applications were denied, according to the U.S. Department of State.

Biden also allowed the bans on the issuance of H-1B, L-1, and J-1 visas and green cards at U.S. embassies and consulates that the previous administration put in place last year to lapse.

That means international startup founders like you and other international talent living outside the United States can start thinking about obtaining these visas and green cards without necessarily requiring exceptions to do so. In a recent podcast episode, I talked about these and other immigration-related changes, as well as those promised by the Biden administration. Take a listen to find out more!

As you probably know, most travelers from Iran are currently not allowed entry into the U.S. because of the COVID-19 travel ban, and most U.S. embassies and consulates are not open for routine visa and green card application processing. Because the United States has not had an embassy or consulate in Iran since the Iran hostage crisis of 1979, you and your co-founders should find out which U.S. embassies or consulates are currently processing routine visa and green card applications — and are in countries that are not on the suspended entry list — and apply there. We’re still waiting for detailed information from the State Department on the equivalent of reparations for individuals who were affected by the Muslim ban.

In addition, I recommend that you consult with an experienced immigration attorney who can help you devise an immigration strategy for yourself, your co-founders and your families based on your personal and professional goals. Now, here are a few options for you to consider.

L-1A visa to open a U.S. office for your startup

#column, #dear-sophie, #diversity, #ec-column, #ec-future-of-work, #green-card, #h-1b-visa, #immigration-law, #iran, #lawyers, #policy, #sophie-alcorn, #startup-visa, #startups, #verified-experts

The Best Anyone Can Hope For With Iran Is Pretty Bad

Perfect isn’t on the menu, and Iran’s Islamic regime is not going to change.

#arms-control-and-limitation-and-disarmament, #biden-joseph-r-jr, #iran, #israel, #middle-east, #nuclear-weapons, #united-states-international-relations

Departure of Netanyahu Provides Biden a Chance for Better Ties

The departure of Benjamin Netanyahu as prime minister is a relief for Democrats, but Iran and the Palestinians could test Mr. Biden’s relations with a fragile new Israeli government.

#appointments-and-executive-changes, #bennett-naftali, #biden-joseph-r-jr, #democratic-party, #iran, #israel, #lapid-yair, #middle-east, #netanyahu-benjamin, #palestinians, #peace-process, #politics-and-government, #united-states-international-relations, #united-states-politics-and-government

Shift in Israel Provides Biden a Chance for Better Ties

The departure of Benjamin Netanyahu as prime minister is a relief for Democrats, but Iran and the Palestinians could test Mr. Biden’s relations with a fragile new Israeli government.

#appointments-and-executive-changes, #bennett-naftali, #biden-joseph-r-jr, #democratic-party, #iran, #israel, #lapid-yair, #middle-east, #netanyahu-benjamin, #palestinians, #peace-process, #politics-and-government, #united-states-international-relations, #united-states-politics-and-government

Netanyahu, ‘King of Israel,’ Exits a Stage He Dominated

Israel’s longest-serving prime minister was a polarizing figure who sidelined efforts to resolve the Palestinian conflict but opened relations with four Arab countries.

#iran, #israel, #jews-and-judaism, #likud-party-israel, #netanyahu-benjamin, #palestinians

Revive the Iran Nuclear Deal With a Nuclear-Free Persian Gulf

Regional rivalries lie at the heart of opposition to the nuclear pact. Could a revived agreement chart a better path?

#arms-control-and-limitation-and-disarmament, #iran, #islamic-revolutionary-guards-corps, #nuclear-weapons, #security-council-un, #united-states-defense-and-military-forces, #united-states-international-relations

Iran Pays Delinquent U.N. Dues, Getting Its Vote Back

The $16.2 million was drawn from Iranian money in a Korean bank that had been frozen by U.S. sanctions but was freed to pay the dues — apparently a conciliatory signal by the Biden administration.

#embargoes-and-sanctions, #general-assembly-un, #iran, #office-of-foreign-assets-control-united-states-treasury, #ravanchi-majid-takht, #south-korea, #united-nations

U.S. Lifts Some Sanctions on Iranians Before Nuclear Talks

The move was unrelated to negotiations over the 2015 nuclear deal, a State Department spokesman said. The United States also imposed new sanctions on other Iranians.

#arms-control-and-limitation-and-disarmament, #biden-joseph-r-jr, #economic-conditions-and-trends, #embargoes-and-sanctions, #houthis, #iran, #nuclear-weapons, #state-department, #treasury-department, #united-states-international-relations, #united-states-politics-and-government, #yemen

A U.N. Declaration on Ending AIDS Should Have Been Easy. It Wasn’t.

Even with U.N.’s previous goals unmet, delegates tried to water down provisions regarding protections for vulnerable populations and patents for essential drugs.

#acquired-immune-deficiency-syndrome, #belarus, #china, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #discrimination, #drugs-pharmaceuticals, #european-union, #homosexuality-and-bisexuality, #intellectual-property, #inventions-and-patents, #iran, #prostitution, #russia, #sex-education, #switzerland, #united-nations, #united-states, #vaccination-and-immunization, #your-feed-science

Are We Waiting for Everyone to Get Hacked?

It’s been almost a decade since Leon Panetta, then the secretary of defense, warned of an impending “Cyber Pearl Harbor.” He didn’t want to be right.

#china, #colonial-pipeline-co, #computer-security, #computers-and-the-internet, #cyberattacks-and-hackers, #cyberwarfare-and-defense, #extortion-and-blackmail, #infrastructure-public-works, #iran, #panetta-leon-v, #russia, #saudi-aramco, #united-states, #us-federal-government-data-breach-2020

Iran’s Proxies in Iraq Threaten U.S. With More Sophisticated Weapons

Iran-backed militias in Iraq are suspected of carrying out recent drone strikes on sensitive American targets in Iraq, evading U.S. defenses.

#asaib-ahl-al-haq, #baghdad-iraq, #central-intelligence-agency, #defense-department, #drones-pilotless-planes, #erbil-iraq, #ghaani-esmail, #iran, #iraq, #islamic-revolutionary-guards-corps, #kataib-hezbollah, #military-aircraft, #muhandis-abu-mahdi-al-1954-2020, #security-and-warning-systems, #suleimani-qassim, #united-states-defense-and-military-forces, #united-states-international-relations

U.N. Suspends Iran’s Voting Rights for Delinquent Dues. Iran is Furious.

Iran and four other countries were disqualified from voting in the General Assembly because they haven’t paid dues for two years. Iran blamed sanctions imposed by the Trump administration.

#central-african-republic, #china, #comoros, #embargoes-and-sanctions, #general-assembly-un, #guterres-antonio, #international-relations, #iran, #office-of-foreign-assets-control-united-states-treasury, #sao-tome-and-principe, #somalia

Iranian Navy’s Largest Ship Catches Fire and Sinks

Efforts to save the vessel, the biggest in the country’s naval fleet and described as a “training ship,” failed. The authorities offered no cause for the blaze.

#gulf-of-oman, #iran, #islamic-revolutionary-guards-corps, #maritime-accidents-and-safety, #persian-gulf, #ships-and-shipping, #strait-of-hormuz

Looking Beyond the Ayatollah to the Treasures of Iran

The organizers of a major London exhibition wanted to put politics aside and showcase the country’s rich 5,000-year-old culture. But politics kept getting in the way.

#aliabadi-shirin-1973-2018, #british-museum, #hunt-tristram, #iran, #macgregor-neil-1946, #victoria-and-albert-museum

Iran Will Try French Citizen on Spying Charges

Benjamin Brière stands accused of flying a drone and taking photographs in a prohibited area. His lawyer said Iran would put him on trial for espionage, which can carry the death penalty.

#embargoes-and-sanctions, #espionage-and-intelligence-services, #france, #iran, #political-prisoners, #politics-and-government

Iran Clears Way for Hard-line Judiciary Chief to Become President

Potential rivals to Ebrahim Raisi, Ayatollah Khamenei’s favored choice, were barred from the June 18 election, and the remaining candidates do not present a serious challenge.

#elections, #guardian-council-iran, #iran, #islamic-revolutionary-guards-corps, #khamenei-ali, #raisi-ebrahim

Iran Talks Loom as a New Test of Biden’s Israel Ties

Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken visited Israel to talk about Gaza and the Palestinians, but heard a stern message about nuclear talks with Tehran.

#arms-control-and-limitation-and-disarmament, #biden-joseph-r-jr, #gaza-strip, #hamas, #iran, #israel, #middle-east, #netanyahu-benjamin, #nuclear-weapons, #raisi-ebrahim, #rouhani-hassan, #united-states-international-relations, #united-states-politics-and-government

It’s ransomware, or maybe a disk wiper, and it’s striking targets in Israel

The flag of Iran.

Enlarge (credit: Getty Images)

Researchers say they’ve uncovered never-before-seen disk-wiping malware that’s disguising itself as ransomware as it unleashes destructive attacks on Israeli targets.

Apostle, as researchers at security firm SentinelOne are calling the malware, was initially deployed in an attempt to wipe data but failed to do so, likely because of a logic flaw in its code. The internal name its developers gave it was “wiper-action.” In a later version, the bug was fixed and the malware gained full-fledged ransomware behaviors, including the leaving of notes demanding victims pay a ransom in exchange for a decryption key.

A clear line

In a post published Tuesday, SentinelOne researchers said they assessed with high confidence that, based on the code and the servers Apostle reported to, the malware was being used by a never-before-seen group with ties to the Iranian government. While a ransomware note they recovered suggested that Apostle had been used against a critical facility in the United Arab Emirates, the primary target was Israel.

Read 11 remaining paragraphs | Comments

#biz-it, #disk-wipers, #iran, #israel, #policy, #tech