U.S. government officials and private security firms have described “a surge in sophisticated computer espionage by Iran, culminating in a series of cyberattacks against State Department officials over the past month,” The New York Times reported Tuesday. The Iranian hackers have used the social media accounts of government employees to gain access to the accounts of friends also working for the government. Facebook alerted the individuals in question that their accounts had been compromised by a state-sponsored hacker. “The Iranians have not been as destructive as they could be, but they are getting more aggressive in cyberespionage, which they know is less likely to prompt a response from the United States,” said James Lewis, a cyber expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Researchers at Check Point, an Israeli cybersecurity company, said that the cyberattacks shrunk to zero in June and July of this year – the final months before the signing of the Iran deal – and then picked up again in August, after the deal was signed. Earlier this month, The Wall Street Journal also reported on the hacking phenomenon, emphasizing that the surge in activity coincided with the Iranian detention of Siamak Namazi, an Iranian-American who called for better relations between the two countries.
In the months since the nuclear deal was reached, Iran has increased its anti-American activity by arresting two U.S. persons, convicting a U.S. citizen on false charges, imprisoning two other U.S. citizens, and holding anti-American rallies. Iran has also increased its number of international sanctions violations. It test-fired a guided ballistic missile, violated international travel bans, exports weapons to Syria and Yemen, and continues its support for terror abroad. Iran has doubled down on its support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad who, with the help from Iran and Hezbollah, has murdered tens of thousands and displaced millions through the use of barrel bombs, indiscriminate air raids, massacres, intentional starvation, and chemical weapons attacks. Immediately after the terrorist attacks in Paris, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said that the U.S. was behind the attacks, and showed a doctored image of President Barack Obama, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in conversation. Khamenei told the President of Nigeria on Monday that the U.S. created and supports ISIS.
The New England Patriots honored American terror victim Ezra Schwartz with a moment of silence before their Monday Night Football game against the Buffalo Bills yesterday. Schwartz was an 18-year-old student and lifelong Patriots fan from the Boston area who was killed by a Palestinian terrorist last week.“
Ladies and Gentlemen, in a month in which the NFL salutes the service of our brave men and women in our armed forces, we also pause to remember the many who have recently lost their lives in senseless terrorist attacks abroad,” said John Dolan, the Patriots’ public address announcer, during the nationwide broadcast. "Last Thursday this reality struck close to home when 18 year-old Ezra Schwartz, a native of Sharon, Massachusetts and a huge Patriots fan, was gunned down nearly 5,500 miles from home while studying abroad. At this time we would like to honor Ezra Schwartz and the hundreds of victims like him with a moment of silence.”
The tribute was first proposed by former Knesset member Dov Lipman, who wrote a letterto Patriots owner Robert Kraft asking the team to honor Schwartz. Several hours before the game it was announced that Kraft had agreed.
This isn’t the first that Kraft has honored an American victim of Palestinian terrorism. Last year, after American IDF soldier Max Steinberg was killed fighting against Hamas, Kraft sent a letter to Steinberg’s parents, writing, “I have taken the liberty of reaching out to you since I noticed him wearing a New England Patriots cap in one of the broadcasted photos. He represents the consummate patriot and I am forever grateful for the sacrifices he made to keep our beloved Israel safe.”
Schwartz was one of three people killed last week when a Palestinian with an Uzi submachine gun opened fire on cars in a traffic jam near Alon Shvut in the West Bank. He was delivering food to soldiers at the time of the attack. (via TheTower.org)