Iranian cyber groups continue to masquerade as American ‘patriot’ organizations that threaten US: officials

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Iranian cyber actors are likely behind the creation of an inflammatory website called Enemies of the People and continue to be active despite earlier warnings, according to the FBI.

The website contains, among other things, death threats directed toward U.S. election officials, the FBI said in a recent advisory.

The intent is to “create fear, divisions, and mistrust in the United States and undermine public confidence in the US electoral process,” the FBI said.

The Iranian cyber group has also exposed officials’ personal information and photographs, a practice known as doxing.

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The FBI cites as proof a screenshot of an “apparent” text communication between the Iranian actors and an unidentified individual in the United States supporting the operation.

An excerpt from an Enemies of the People web page in early January states that “Our leader is the rightful president, Donald Trump and we follow his lead alone,” according to Bleeping Computer, a cybersecurity news site.

“We intend to continue our fight and defend our democracy from those wishing to subvert it,” the message said.

The authors of the message deny being Iranian and claim to be Americans. 

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A Telegram channel is also active. Some of the “enemies” doxed are Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, noted Bleeping Computer.

Contributions for the suspicious operations came from a Bitcoin address with a wallet holding as much as $15,000 at one point, Bleeping Computer said.

Iranian cyber actors are likely behind the creation of an inflammatory website called Enemies of the People.

Iranian cyber actors are likely behind the creation of an inflammatory website called Enemies of the People.
(iStock)

Initial advisory

The FBI issued the initial advisory about Enemies of the People in December.

Iran has denied any connection to the campaigns, saying they’re “baseless” and “absurd,” according to the Washington Post.

In October, the U.S said Iran was behind a fake Proud Boys campaign that sent threatening emails sent to Democratic voters warning that they must vote for Donald Trump or else.

One fake email claimed “we will come after you” if recipients didn’t vote for Trump.

The Proud Boys denied they were behind the messages.

The U.S said Iran was behind a fake Proud Boys campaign that sent threatening emails sent to Democratic voters warning that they must vote for Donald Trump or else. (AP Photo/Andrew Selsky, File)

The U.S said Iran was behind a fake Proud Boys campaign that sent threatening emails sent to Democratic voters warning that they must vote for Donald Trump or else. (AP Photo/Andrew Selsky, File)

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One email included a link to a fake video showing Proud Boys purportedly hacking into voter registration databases, according to Reuters.

“Prior to the 2020 presidential election, the U.S. observed Iranian state actors stoking fear, uncertainty, and doubt pertaining to the US election process,” Austin Merritt, cyber threat intelligence analyst at Digital Shadows, a San Francisco-based provider of digital risk protection solutions, told Fox News.

“Well-orchestrated operations such as these can typically be traced to threat actors from foreign states,” Merritt said.



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