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Iranian hackers steal sensitive Oxford research

Iranian hackers have stolen millions of sensitive documents from both Oxbridge universities in a targeted move at many universities worldwide.

The hacked papers are then sold online through WhatsApp to customers in Iran for as little as £2, as part of a global campaign linked to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, according to The Times.

The hackers, believed to be part of the Colbolt Dickens group operating out of Iran, have targeted 76 universities in 14 countries.

A spokesperson for Oxford University told Cherwell: “The University is aware of the claims, but we have confidence in the robust information security measures already in place.”

The hackers have been targeting unpublished research on sensitive topics including nuclear power, computer file encryption and cyber security, circumventing US sanctions on the sale of academic research to Iran.

The scam creates duplicates of each university’s login page, so students and academics hand over their account name and password believing they are logging in to the actual university website.

The discovery of the attacks by the IT company Secureworks comes just half a year after the US Department of Justice warned of Iranian hackers targeting universities.

A former MI5 and GCHQ officer, Dave Palmer, told The Telegraph: “Universities should be worrying about it.”

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