Information security, cyber attacks, data breaches and other security concerns have been heightened during the pandemic with many working from home, schooling from home and anxious over the world health crisis around them. On top of that, now those in the world of academic publishing need to be concerned about an international phishing organization working on behalf of the Iranian government. The Scholarly Kitchen brought us this interesting information in their article, “Watch Out for the Silent Librarian: An Interview with Crane Hassold.”

Silent Librarian is an international phishing organization that works for university network credentials on behalf of the Iranian government. This particular cyber threat involves phishing pages that were specifically crafted to mimic university library log-in pages. They are not new, but have been active since at least 2013.

Silent Librarian is linked to the Mabna Institute, an organization that was indicted by the US Department of Justice in March 2018. They use the credentials they steal in their phishing attacks to access and download research from various academic journals. The group also sells access to these journals on various Iranian websites, which allows users to purchase an account at a specific university or purchase journal articles individually.

If they have been active since 2013, they must be successful at their nefarious attempts. This is a good reminder to be extra diligent in your security measures.

Melody K. Smith

Sponsored by Data Harmony, a unit of Access Innovations, the world leader in indexing and making content findable.