Microsoft: Seizure of sites Iranian hackers used for attacks

Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Microsoft says it has seized 99 websites used by Iranian hackers to launch cyberattacks.

The company said Wednesday it took control of the websites after suing the hacking group and obtaining a U.S. judge’s approval.

Microsoft says it’s been tracking the group since 2013. The company says the group has tried to steal sensitive information from activists, journalists and others in the Middle East.

Microsoft calls the group Phosphorus, while others call it APT35.

Wednesday’s announcement ties the hackers to the country of Iran but not specifically to its government.

A spokesman for Iran’s mission to the United Nations didn’t immediately respond to an email seeking comment Wednesday.

Microsoft has taken hackers to court before. It used a similar strategy in 2016 to seize fake domains created by Russia-backed hackers.

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