Romanians with hacking Washington DC police computers linked to
surveillance cameras just days before President Donald Trump’s
The pair are being held in Romania, having been arrested at Bucharest Otopeni airport on 15 December.
Alexandru Isvanca, 25, and Eveline Cismaru, 28, allegedly accessed 123
outdoor surveillance cameras as part of a suspected ransomware scheme.
Mr Trump was sworn in on 20 January.
perpetrators intended to use the t:camera computers to send ransomware to
more than 179,600 email addresses and extort money from victims, the
justice department said in a statement.
Investigators have identified victims who had received the ransomware or whose computer servers had been accessed, it added.
There was no evidence that the alleged hackers had physically harmed or threatened anyone, the US statement added.
secret service agent, James Graham, said in an affidavit that two
variants of “sophisticated, malicious computer code” had been placed on
three police computers, one known as “cerber” and the other known as “dharma”.
ransomware attacks, malware is secretly installed on t:computers, usually
via rogue email attachments, which locks programs. The hackers then
demand payment in exchange for unlocking the computers.
Mr Isvanca and Ms Cismaru are accused of conspiracy to commit wire
fraud – that is, financial fraud using computers – which carries a
maximum penalty of 20 years in jail.
Media captionTechnology explained: what is ransomware?
The EU police agency Europol says three other suspects were also
arrested in Romania this month in a linked investigation into
ransomware. The UK’s National Crime Agency was involved in that
The three are suspected of infecting computers with t:CTB-Locker (Curve-Tor-Bitcoin Locker) malware.
A Europol statement says Romanian police were tipped off in early 2017 by the Dutch High Tech Crime Unit and other authorities about a group of Romanians sending spam messages.
spam emails had attachments made to look as if they had come from
well-known companies in Italy, the Netherlands and UK. Once opened on a
Windows system, those malicious attachments encrypted computer files.
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