Justice Dept. charges 9 Iranians in massive hacking scheme

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Justice Department has charged nine Iranians in a government-sponsored hacking that pilfered sensitive information from hundreds of American universities, private companies and government agencies.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and other law enforcement officials announced the case Friday.

Officials say the Iranians were working at the behest of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. They say the defendants were affiliated with the Mabna Institute, an Iranian company that for the last several years has contracted with the Iranian government to conduct hacking.

The defendants are unlikely to ever be prosecuted in an American courtroom because there’s no extradition treaty with Iran. But the case is part of the government’s “name and shame” strategy to publicly identify foreign hackers and put their countries on notice.