A federal grand jury returned an 11-count indictment today charging two Syrian men with offenses relating to their participation in a conspiracy to engage in computer hacking as members of the ‘Syrian Electronic Army’ or ‘SEA.’
Ahmad Umar Agha, who is known online as the ‘The Pro,’ and Firas Dardar, who uses the nickname ‘The Shadow,’ were indicted on conspiracy charges and multiple counts of aggravated identity theft.
According to allegations in the indictment, under the name ‘Syrian Electronic Army,’ the conspirators focused on spearphishing U.S. government, military, international organizations, and private-sector entities, including the Executive Office of the President, the U.S. Marine Corps, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, National Public Radio, the Associated Press, Reuters, The Washington Post, The New York Times, CNN, The Onion, USA Today, The New York Post, Time, Human Rights Watch, and scores of other entities and individuals. Agha and Dardar would research targets and then engage in dedicated spearphishing attacks on victim organizations. When the conspiracys spearphishing efforts were successful, Agha and Dardar allegedly would use stolen usernames and passwords to deface websites, redirect domains to sites controlled or utilized by the conspiracy, steal electronic mail, and hijack social media accounts. (Source: U.S. Department of Justice)