Microsoft’s Digital Threat Analysis Center (DTAC) has attributed a recent influence operation targeting the satirical French magazine Charlie Hebdo to an Iranian nation-state actor. Microsoft dubbed the threat group, which calls itself Holy Souls, NEPTUNIUM. It has also been identified as Emennet Pasargad by the US Department of Justice.
In January, the group claimed to have obtained the personal information of more than 200,000 Charlie Hebdo customers after access to a database, which Microsoft believes was in response to a cartoon contest conducted by the magazine. The information included a spreadsheet detailing the full names, telephone numbers, and home and email addresses of accounts that had subscribed to, or purchased merchandise from, the publication.