Just before the 2017 presidential inauguration, 126 computers controlling surveillance cameras for the Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia were hit with a ransomware attack that disabled almost two-thirds of the cameras in the nation's capital. Now, a Romanian citizen has pleaded guilty in federal court to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit computer fraud.
As part of the plea agreement, Eveline Cismaru, 28, will cooperate fully in the investigation. She will be sentenced on Dec. 3.
According to evidence presented in the case, ransomware activated on the 126 computers would have resulted in a ransom of more than $60,000. In addition, some of the infected computers were converted to proxies for sending malware to other systems; when the scheme was disrupted, investigators say that Cismaru and her co-conspirator, Mihai Alexandru Isvanca, were in the process of attacking as many as 179,616 other computers using stolen e-mails, e-mail passwords, and banking credentials.
Surveillance capability was restored before the inauguration, and there is no evidence that any individual's physical security was harmed or threatened because of the outage. Isvanca remains in custody in Romania while awaiting extradition to the US.
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