By Ovunc Kutlu
ANKARA (AA) – The US Treasury Department imposed sanctions on an Iranian cyber network Thursday, as well as a number of individuals and two Lebanon-based companies owned by Hezbollah.
The Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) said it imposed sanctions on Iranian cyber group Advanced Persistent Threat 39 (APT39), 45 associated individuals and one front company.
"Masked behind its front company, Rana Intelligence Computing Company (Rana), the government of Iran employed a years-long malware campaign that targeted Iranian dissidents, journalists, and international companies in the travel sector," it said.
OFAC claimed Rana conducts computer intrusions and malware campaigns against foreign governments, networks of international businesses, institutions and air carriers, noting the 45 individuals served as managers, programmers and hacking experts while employed at Rana.
Separately, OFAC said it also imposed sanctions on two Lebanon-based companies, Arch Consulting and Meamar Construction, for being owned, controlled, or directed by Hezbollah.
"Through Hizballah’s exploitation of the Lebanese economy and manipulation of corrupt Lebanese officials, companies associated with the terrorist organization are awarded government contracts," Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said, using an alternative spelling for the group.