For years, the US government had treated hacking campaigns carried out by foreign governments as matters of national security that are classified. Investigators believe the hackers were contracted by the Iranian government, according to USA officials close to the investigation. The biggest question is whether the naming-and-shaming of the indictments actually have the deterrent effect that the Justice Department envisions. The hackers are accused of hitting the banks with distributed-denial-of-service attacks on a near-weekly basis, a relatively unsophisticated way of knocking computer networks offline by overwhelming them with a flood of spammed traffic. They threatened our economic well-being and our ability to compete fairly in the global marketplace. This unauthorized access allowed him to repeatedly obtain information regarding the status and operation of the dam, including information about the water levels, temperature and status of the sluice gate, which is responsible for controlling water levels and flow rates. “These were no ordinary crimes, but calculated attacks by groups with ties to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard and designed specifically to harm America and its people”, said Bharara. “An important part of our cybersecurity practice is to identify the actors and to attribute them publicly when we can”, Lynch said. Computer systems, such as the one controlling the dam, are considered the backbone or core of modern industries including transportation, energy, oil and gas and manufacturing. The attacks in 2011, 2012 and 2013 stopped hundreds of thousands of customers from accessing their accounts and cost the businesses millions of dollars as they raced to protect their servers. All seven defendants are charged with attacks against 46 victims primarily in the financial sector, between late 2011 and mid-2013. There was no immediate comment from Tehran. All seven of the suspects remain at large, and FBI Director James Comey indicated that securing the Iranians’ arrests would be hard. Hossein Jaberi Ansari made the remarks in reaction to an indictment of seven Iranian hackers by the US Justice Department on Thursday. The defendants were named as Ahmad Fathi, Hamid Firoozi, Amin Shokohi, Sadegh Ahmadzadegan (who went by the name “Nitr0jen26”), Omid Ghaffarinia (also known as “PLuS”), Sina Keissar and Nader Saedi, whose moniker was “Turk Server”. Firoozi is charged alone for hacking the dam. An indictment is a rare step for the USA government to take against foreign government-affiliated officials who are unlikely to be within reach of US law enforcement any time soon. Back in May, the DOJ indicted five Chinese military officials suspected of stealing trade secrets online. None has been brought to trial. The indictment announced at the Justice Department reveals the determination of overseas hackers to cripple vital American interests, the officials said. I don’t know if anyone expects that. They pointed to Iran’s renewed emphasis on conventional weaponry and ballistic missiles as evidence that the regime remains a potent threat. The United States and Israel allegedly attacked Iran’s nuclear facilities in 2010 with a computer a virus called Stuxnet, although neither government has acknowledged it. It also comes eight month after the nuclear accord was agreed to by the U.S., Iran and other world powers.