back to article US counterintelligence agent helped Iran lob cyber-bombs at America, say Uncle Sam's lawyers

US prosecutors on Wednesday announced the indictment of a former US counterintelligence agent on charges of helping Iran conduct cyberattacks on her former colleagues. The legal eagles also charged four Iranian nationals said to have carried out related computer crimes. Former US Air Force intelligence agent Monica Elfriede …

  1. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    Do you have a link to those photos?

  2. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. David 132 Silver badge

      To quote Mrs Merton seems relevant here...

      “What first attracted you to the multi-millionaire Paul Daniels?”

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Could be any number of things. Financial hardship / Gain, blackmail, ideological motivations etc.

      Suppose a person, who has similar access to highly sensitive information, is neck deep in debt, sole financial provider to a family, absolutely hates their job (and I mean hates, not unhappy), and there is something they have done in their past that they don't want anyone to know about.

      Now someone comes along and says any one, or combination, of the following:

      - Do this thing, and we will pay all your debts, and provide you with enough money to provide for your family for the rest of their lives;

      - Do this thing, stick it to the boss, screw the people you work for! You will be a hero!

      - We know what you did, we have proof, and if you don't do what we say, we'll ruin you.

      Most gov agencies will have some policies which seek to mitigate the risk of stuff like this happening, like clearance vetting processes, reporting procedures for unusual / suspect contacts etc. But ultimately if someone / some people (in this case a Foreign Intel Service) can find the right pressure point, something that hits closer to home than legislative obligations, then their target could reasonably forget about the personal risk and do things they otherwise would not.

      To be clear, not defending this person, and I don't know the circumstances in this case specifically, but it's not inconceivable that something like this would happen.

  3. Richard Jones 1

    Yee Gods

    Agents on idiot book? Who had the great idea of letting agents use some daft ideas to weaken their defences? As for idiot number one, with an unstable personality like that should they ever have been employed - anywhere? Does the US actually have any recruitment and training programmes, let alone management worthy to turn on the lights?

    1. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: Yee Gods

      From this article, it sounds as though the US needs to think about recruiting intelligence agents who have some intelligence.

    2. RobThBay

      Re: Yee Gods

      I wonder how many times per hour their MAGA presidiot clicks on those types of links?

      ....we have wall 4 sale 4 u.... clunk on pictoors 2 sea.... LOL

    3. DropBear Silver badge

      Re: Yee Gods

      Also, if your target accepts your friend request, one would assume that's because there is at least _some_ amount of real-world connection between him and whoever you're spoofing - but if that's so, how do you expect that real-world link to not uncover fairly quickly that your "spofee" never actually friended him...?

      1. Is It Me

        Re: Yee Gods

        There is a fair chance that they are expected to keep up an normal appearance on social media.

        They would be expected to keep anything to do with what they do for a living clear of it though.

    4. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Yee Gods

      Probably "contractors" aren't vetted as deeply as actual agents. Then again, even good vetted agents have been turned after they've been hired. The worst enemy anywhere in government or business is a disgruntled employee.

  4. lglethal Silver badge
    Facepalm

    sigh...

    You've gone to all the trouble of setting up fake accounts, identifying inteliigence operatives, swiped legitimate photos and done all of the hard work of getting those identified intelligence operatives to friend you (and thus identify further people for analysis, etc), and then you go and send a message like that???

    It seems the term intelligence agent (on both sides of the conflict) is something of an oxymoron....

  5. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    And what about all those US "cyber-bombs" that got lobbed elsewhere such as the basis of Wannacry? When do the US prosecute the authors of those? As opposed to prosecuting those who stopped them, of course.

  6. JaitcH
    FAIL

    THE BIGGEST US SECURITY RISK IS IN THE WHITE HOUSE!

    Trump, that sad excuse for humanity, breaches more protocols daily than others do in a lifetime.

    He bypasses security vetting and waives objections to people like Kushner.

    And don't think US is the only leaky ship - the UK and Australia are up there, too.

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