Thursday, May 13, 2021

Hackers Attack the International Atomic Energy Agency

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has acknowledged that hackers successfully breached its cyber-defenses and obtained a list of agency email addresses. A group calling itself Parastoo (a Farsi word for a bird and a common girl’s name in Iran) has claimed responsibility.

InfoSecurity reported, “A new hacktivist collective calling itself Parastoo took responsibility for compromising the UN’s nuclear watchdog agency, but the IAEA hasn’t confirmed who the culprits actually may be. Parastoo has posted a manifesto filled with shout-outs to other hacktivist groups like Lulz and Anonymous, along with allusions to various Middle East cyberwar touchpoints like the Stuxnet worm. It demands that that the IAEA look into Israel’s nuclear activities: specifically, it wants to know the purpose of a facility at Dimona that is widely assumed to be a nuclear weapons manufacturing plant. Israel has neither confirmed nor denied this, and calls for investigation into the plant are common from Arab states.”

The Verge’s Chris Welch noted, “The International Atomic Energy Agency has fallen victim to hackers, who managed to access one of the UN agency’s servers and publish over 100 retrieved email addresses on the web. The leaked contact data belongs to workers that have assisted the IAEA in its quest to reduce the proliferation of nuclear weapons across the globe. Apparently it’s dated information, however, with the IAEA claiming the addresses were “stolen from an old server that was shut down some time ago.” Nonetheless, the agency’s security teams are currently working to ensure no further sensitive data is compromised.”

The Business Insider quoted the hackers, who wrote, “The above list who technically help IAEA could be considered a partner in crime should an accident happen there. In such case … Parastoo will publish whereabouts of every single one of these individuals alongside with bits of helpful personal and professional details.”

Computerworld’s Lucian Constantin noted, “The IAEA is an international organization that promotes the safe and peaceful use of nuclear energy and discourages the proliferation of nuclear weapons. The agency reports issues of non-compliance by states to the United Nations General Assembly and Security Council.”

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