Two Romanian hackers charged with disabling Washington DC police surveillance cameras just before Trump’s inauguration
Two Romanian hackers have been arrested and charged with overtaking two-thirds of Washington’s outdoor surveillance cameras just before Trump’s inauguration, officials said Thursday.
Mihai Alexandru Isvanca, 25, and Eveline Cismaru, 28 were arrested in Bucharest on December 15 and charged with conspiracy and various forms of computer fraud, according to a criminal complaint unsealed in Washington, dailymail.co.uk reports.
The Justice Department said the pair managed to disable 123 of the Metropolitan Police Department’s 187 outdoor surveillance cameras in early January by infecting computer systems with ransomware.
The pair were attempting ‘to extort money’ in exchange for unlocking the computer, according to an affidavit filed in court.
They have been described as being part of a bigger extortionist hacking group, according to the Washington Post.
The case ‘was of the highest priority’ because it impacted efforts to plan security ahead of the 2017 presidential inauguration, according to officials.
The Secret Service and other agencies ‘quickly ensured that the surveillance camera system was secure and operational’ and the investigation found no security threats as a result of the scheme.
Isvanca remains in custody in Romania and Cismaru is on house arrest there pending further legal proceedings, the Justice Department said.
The pair currently face prosecution in Europe, but prosecutors plan to seek extradition, according to court filings. If convicted they could each likely see 20 years in prison.
Their infiltration into the Metropolitan Police Department’s system was discovered on January 12 when an officer noticed several cameras weren’t functioning properly, according to the Post.
None of the cameras recorded any video between January 12 and January 15, but ransom was never paid.
The Secret Service tracked down Cismaru and Isvanca by tracking the computer accessing email addresses.