Microsoft: Iranian Hackers Targeted U.S. and Israeli Defense Tech Firms

Iranian hackers recently attempted to breach over 250 “Microsoft Office 365” accounts belonging to U.S. and Israeli government-linked defense tech firms, as well as companies tied to Persian Gulf ports of entry and Middle East-based maritime shipping, Microsoft reported Monday.

In a blog post published October 11, the Microsoft Threat Intelligence Center (MSTIC) said it “first observed and began tracking” the attempted breaches by Iran-based hackers in late July. The cybercriminals conducted “extensive password spraying against more than 250 Office 365 tenants, with a focus on US and Israeli defense technology companies, Persian Gulf ports of entry, or global maritime transportation companies with business presence in the Middle East.”

While “less than 20 of the targeted tenants were successfully compromised,” the hacking unit “continues to evolve” its techniques for future cyberattacks, MSTIC warned.

Microsoft, a U.S.-based multinational tech corporation with strong ties to the U.S. government, did not name the companies targeted by the Tehran-allied hackers, though it did provide additional details about the hacking victims. The tech giant described them as “defense companies that support United States, European Union, and Israeli government partners producing military-grade radars, drone technology, satellite systems, and emergency response communication systems.”

Gabrielle Reyes