US prosecutors charged two Romanian hackers for hacking Washington DC police computers connected to surveillance cameras. The hacking came into light just before few days of inauguration of surveillance cameras by the U.S. President Donald Trump.
The pair of hackers were held in Romania after the arrest at Bucharest Otopeni airport on December 15. Eveline Cismaru, 28, and Mihai Alexandru Isvanca, 25, hacked police computers and gained access to 123 outdoor surveillance cameras.
The U.S. Department of Justice stated the case is of the highest priority because the security of the presidential inauguration is concerned. The inauguration was supposed to take place on January 20.
The hackers had plans to gain access to computers connected to surveillance system to send ransomware to nearly 179,600 email addresses and squeeze money from victims, said the justice department in a statement.
It added that investigators found out victims who received the ransomware. Moreover, they also discovered computer servers that had been accessed. However, investigators have not found any evidence confirming that hackers physically harmed or threatened specific individuals.
James Graham, a secret service agent, said in an affidavit that two different “sophisticated, malicious computer code” were put into three computers of Washington DC police. One of them was known as “cerber”, while another was known as “dharma”.
In this ransomware attack, hackers secretly installed malware on computers through email attachments. This malware locked programs, then they demanded payment to unlock the computers.
Mr. Isvanca and Ms. Cismaru have been arrested and accused of conspiracy for committing wire fraud. Committing financial fraud by utilizing computers is accounted for a maximum penalty of 20 years in jail.