Charlie Hebdo cyberattack attributed to Iran.
N2K logoFeb 6, 2023

French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo was hit with a cyberattack last week that’s now attributed to Iranian actors.

Charlie Hebdo cyberattack attributed to Iran.

Charlie Hebdo, a French satire magazine, was hit with a cyberattack that saw customer data stolen and leaked, Reuters reported Friday. Microsoft researchers are attributing the activity to the Iranian threat group NEPTUNIUM (which appears as Emennet Pasargad in the US State Department’s Rewards for Justice program).

Iran’s Emennet Pasargad behind the attack.

Microsoft’s Digital Threat Analysis Center (DTAC) has attributed the attack to Iran-affiliated actors Redmond tracks as NEPTUNIUM, also known as “Emmenet Pasargad” or “Holy Souls.” Security Affairs wrote yesterday that the group claimed in early January to have stolen the personal data of over 200,000 Charlie Hebdo customers, sharing a data sample that included the full names, telephone numbers, and home and email addresses of people who’d either subscribed to or purchased something from the magazine. Microsoft says that the data were offered for sale at the price of 20 BTC, or approximately $340,000 at Friday’s exchange rates. 

Emmenet Pasargad’s motivations.

The attack is thought to have been motivated by Charlie Hebdo’s running contest inviting people to submit derisory material on Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei in what was intended for publication last month. Le Monde explained that on the day of the hack, Iran’s foreign minister publicly condemned “the insulting acts of the French newspaper.” The full release of the data, Microsoft says, could put targets on the backs of those reading and supporting the publication with a record of courting controversy with satire of major religions.