WASHINGTON (AP/WJZ) — The Justice Department says two Iranian computer hackers have been charged in connection with multimillion-dollar cybercrime and extortion scheme that targeted U.S. government agencies and health care businesses.
Faramarz Shahi Savandi and Mohammad Mehdi Shah Mansouri were charged in an indictment unsealed Wednesday in New Jersey.
Prosecutors say the two men created ransomware that encrypted data on the computers of more than 200 victims, including “hospitals, municipalities, and public institutions.”
MedStar Health, headquartered in Columbia, Md., was targeted by these hackers
MedStar Health released the following statement on this case:
“MedStar Health applauds the work of U.S. law enforcement officials in identifying the alleged perpetrators of the malware attack that occurred in 2016. As we said at the time, we took immediate action to limit the impact of this attack and restore our systems. We continued to provide safe patient care in our 10 hospitals and all of our outpatient facilities throughout this event. Then, as now, we remain focused on our core mission of providing high quality, safe patient care.”
The victims included the cities of Atlanta and Newark, New Jersey. Authorities say the hackers were able to make about $6 million.
The indictment states Savandi and Mansouri would extort the victims by demanding a ransom paid in Bitcoin in exchange for decryption keys for the data.
Craig Carpenito, the U.S. attorney for New Jersey, says the scheme was a “dangerous escalation of cybercrime” because it targeted public institutions.
The two men remain fugitives and are believed to still be in Iran.
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