Two Romanian people have been arrested and charged with hacking into control systems of the surveillance cameras for the Metropolitan Police Department in the US. The two suspects, Mihai Alexandru Isvanca, 25, and Eveline Cismaru, 28, hacked the US Capital Police cameras earlier this year.
A ransomware infected 70 percent of storage devices used by the Washington DC CCTV systems just eight days before the inauguration of President Donald Trump.
The attack occurred between 12 and 15 January, the ransomware infected 123 of 187 network video recorders, each controlling up to four CCTVs. IT staff was forced to wipe the infected systems in order to restore the situation, fortunately, the ransomware did not affect other components of the Washington DC network.
The first infections were discovered by the Police on Jan. 12 D.C. when the authorities noticed four camera sites were not functioning properly. Experts at the city technology office detected two distinct ransomware (Cerber and Dharma) in four recording devices, then they extended the analysis to the entire surveillance network and wiped all the infected equipment.
The duo was arrested in Bucharest on December 15 and charged with conspiracy and various forms of computer fraud.
According to an affidavit dated December 11, the two criminals acted in an effort “to extort money” in exchange for unlocking the surveillance system.
Prosecutors collected evidence that revealed a scheme to distribute ransomware by email to at least 179,000 email addresses.
“The investigation uncovered information that the MPD surveillance camera computers were compromised between Jan. 9 and Jan. 12, 2017, and that ransomware variants called “cerber” and “dharma” had been stored on the computers. Other evidence in the investigation revealed a scheme to distribute ransomware by email to at least 179,000 email addresses. ” reads the press release published by the DoJ.
Isvanca remains in custody in Romania and Cismaru is under house arrest pending further legal proceedings, the maximum penalty for a conspiracy to commit wire fraud is 20 years in prison.
(Security Affairs – Capital Police cameras, cybercrime)