Middle East officials targeted by cyber espionage ‘Madi’ attackers based in Canada

Government officials in the Middle East are among 800 victims of a sustained cyber espionage attack dubbed Madi targeting critical infrastructure in Iran and Israel, security experts have discovered.

A sophisticated hacking group, whose members moved its servers from the Iranian capital Tehran to Canada in January 2012, stole hundreds of sensitive documents from the officials and businesspeople in an eight-month spying campaign. That began in December 2011, researchers from the security firms Kaspersky Labs and Seculert have told the Guardian.

Email and Facebook accounts belonging to the victims were also spied on during the attack, which follows a string of attempts to snoop on top-secret projects in the Middle East.

Researchers believe the attack, revealed for the first time on Tuesday, was coordinated from four bases in Canada by a group of Farsi-speaking hackers. It is not known whether the cyber espionage was state-sponsored.

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