Iranian hackers sought to undermine faith in the US presidential election

In New York, two Iranian nationals were charged for their involvement in a cyber-enabled campaign to intimidate and influence American voters and otherwise undermine voter confidence and sow discord in connection with the 2020 US presidential election.

“This indictment details how two Iran-based actors waged a targeted, coordinated campaign to erode confidence in the integrity of the US electoral system and to sow discord among Americans,” Assistant Attorney General Matthew G. Olsen of the Justice Department’s National Security Division is quoted in a press release.

According to him, the allegations illustrate how foreign disinformation campaigns operate and seek to influence the American public.

According to court documents, Seyyed Mohammad Hosein Musa Kazemi, aka Mohammad Hosein Musa Kazem, aka Hosein Zamani, 24, and Sajjad Kashian, aka Kiarash Nabavi, 27, both of Iran, obtained confidential US voter information from at least one state election website; sent threatening email messages to intimidate and interfere with voters; created and disseminated a video containing disinformation about purported election infrastructure vulnerabilities; attempted to access, without authorization, several states’ voting-related websites; and successfully gained unauthorized access to a US media company’s computer network that, if not for successful FBI and victim company efforts to mitigate, would have provided the conspirators another vehicle to disseminate false claims after the election.

“As alleged, Kazemi and Kashian were part of a coordinated conspiracy in which Iranian hackers sought to undermine faith and confidence in the US presidential election,” US Attorney Damian Williams for the Southern District of New York is quoted in a press release. “Working with others, Kazemi and Kashian accessed voter information from at least one state’s voter database, threatened US voters via email, and even disseminated a fictitious video that purported to depict actors fabricating overseas ballots.”

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