Researchers have linked a sophisticated hacking scheme targeting Iranian dissidents and at least one freedom of expression activist back to Iran. A report released Thursday by the Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs describes how the hackers used
text message and phone-based phishing to try to get around the security of Google’s Gmail and access the accounts of their targets. The attacks studied by the Citizen Lab were very similar to others connected to Iranian hackers, the report says. Omid Memarian, an exiled Iranian journalist living in New York, says the hackers contacted him in June through Google Chat messages, phone calls and emails, telling him he needed to change his Gmail password. He realized it was a phishing attempt and didn’t hand over his information, but the hackers’ repeated attempts made him fear that his account had been compromised.