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Source: DW

Aug 10, 2023

Germany says Charming Kitten hackers target Iran dissidents

Germany's domestic intelligence agency has warned dissident Iranian activists about the threat of cyber espionage against them. The hackers work by gaining the trust of their targets.

Germany's Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) on Thursday warned critics of the Iranian leadership living in Germany that they might be targeted by hackers.

The agency said the Charming Kitten online espionage group works by building trust with victims to the extent that they expose data on themselves, and any online contacts in Iran.

How do the hackers operate?

The BfV explained the group was using a multi-step process to identify and spy on critics of the Iranian regime.

The cyberattacks were mainly directed at dissident organizations and professionals — such as legal practitioners, journalists, or human rights activists — in Iran and abroad.

In mid-August 2020, people using fake Deutsche Welle identities contacted the staff of a foreign embassy and a leading expert by email. At the time, internet security service Clearsky said Charming Kitten was behind this.

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