Crime

Iranian nationals indicted for allegedly planning cyberattack on Boston Children’s Hospital

The Rewards for Justice Program is offering a reward of up to $10 million for information on the trio's activities.

Charles Krupa
A sign hangs on a wall outside the Boston Children's Hospital, Thursday, Aug. 18, 2022, in Boston. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Three Iranian nationals have been indicted for allegedly planning cyberattacks on targets that included Boston Children’s Hospital, FBI Director Christopher Wray announced Wednesday.

Mansour Ahmadi, Ahmad Khatibi Aghda, and Amir Hossein Nickaein Ravari “engaged in a pattern of hacking, cyber-theft, and extortion largely for personal gain,” Wray said in the announcement. All three live in Iran and are wanted by the FBI. 

The trio allegedly sought to steal information, encrypt networks, and sell private data in hopes of persuading victims to pay sizable ransoms, according to Wray. Targets included companies and entities in the U.S. and around the world.

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The men are charged with conspiracy to commit fraud and related activity in connection with computers, intentional damage to a protected computer, and transmitting a demand in relation to damaging a protected computer.

“These three individuals are among a group of cybercriminals whose attacks represent a direct assault on the critical infrastructure and public services we all depend on,” Wray said.

Ahmadi, Aghda, and Ravari set their sights on Boston Children’s Hospital in the summer of 2021, he said.

However, an unspecified intelligence partner tipped off the FBI, and the agency worked with Children’s to block what would have been “one of the most despicable cyberattacks I’ve seen,” Wray said at a Boston College cybersecurity conference in June. 

“We were able to identify and defeat the threat, protecting both the network and the sick children who depend on it,” Wray said Wednesday. “I’m very proud of our success thwarting that attack.”

The U.S. is facing a cybersecurity threat that is “growing more dangerous and complex every day,” he added. “It’s one we can’t ignore and it’s one we can’t fight on our own, either.”

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The U.S. Department of State’s Rewards for Justice Program is offering a reward of up to $10 million for information on or about Ahmadi, Aghda, and Ravari’s activities, according to the FBI’s wanted poster.

Anyone with information on the men can contact their local FBI office or the nearest American embassy or consulate.

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