Two Iranians charged with hacking, stealing US missile design software

Two Iranians are accused of hacking of a US software company and the theft of missile design software restricted from export from the US without a license.

stealing US missile design software

Mohammed Reza Rezakhah, 39 and Mohammed Saeed Ajily, 35, have been charged with a criminal conspiracy relating to computer fraud and abuse, unauthorized access to, and theft of information from, computers, wire fraud, exporting a defense article without a license, and violating sanctions against Iran.

According to the allegations in the indictment filed in Rutland, Vermont, beginning in or around 2007, Rezakhah, Ajily, and a third actor who has already pleaded guilty in the District of Vermont for related conduct, conspired together to access computers without authorization in order to obtain software which they would then sell and redistribute in Iran and elsewhere outside the US.

Ajily, a businessman, would task Rezakhah and others with stealing or unlawfully cracking particular pieces of valuable software. Rezakhah would then conduct unauthorized intrusions into victim networks to steal the desired software.

Once the software was obtained, Ajily marketed and sold the software through various companies and associates to Iranian entities, including universities and military and government entities, specifically noting that such sales were in contravention of US export controls and sanctions.

As part of this conspiracy, in October 2012, Rezakhah hacked Vermont-based engineering consulting and software design company Arrow Tech, best known for PRODAS (Projectile Rocket Ordnance Design and Analysis System), a proprietary software that supports aerodynamics analysis and design for projectiles. The software is typically sold for between $40,000 and $800,000.

This software is designated as a “defense article” on the US Munitions List of the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), meaning it cannot be exported from the US without a license from the US Department of State. Ajily thereafter promoted the same software as one of the products he could offer to his Iranian clients.

The court issued arrest warrants for both defendants.