Iranian regime-linked hackers behind Charlie Hebdo cyberattack, Microsoft says

Hackers linked to the Iranian regime behind a cyber attack on Charlie Hebdo, says Microsoft


Computer giant Microsoft claimed on Friday that a group linked to the Tehran regime was behind a recent cyberattack on French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, carried out after a cartoon contest deemed insulting to Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.&nbsp ;

These hackers claimed to be the “Holy Souls,” but they are actually Iranian cybersecurity firm Emennet Pasargad, which Microsoft calls Neptunium, writes Clint Watts, a senior American company, in a blog post.

In early January, the “Holy Souls” announced that they had obtained the personal data of more than 200,000 Charlie Hebdo subscribers and customers, and published a sample.

They had offered the information for sale for 20 bitcoins, or about $340,000 at the time, according to Microsoft.

Contacted by AFP, Charlie Hebdo did not not wished to react.

“Whatever one thinks of the editorial choices of Charlie Hebdo, the publication of personal data of tens of thousands of its customers constitutes a serious threat”, said Microsoft.

Charlie Hebdo had announced an “international competition” of caricatures to carry out “the most caricature funny and nasty of Ali Khamenei, supreme guide of the Islamic Republic of Iran”, shaken for several months by unprecedented demonstrations. These drawings caused a diplomatic crisis between Paris and Tehran.

Emennet Pasargad was the employer of two Iranians charged in the United States for having organized a disinformation operation and tried to influence the American presidential election from November 2020.