Hackers use Washington DC Security Surveillance Cameras to spread Ransomware

Last week, two Romanian nationals named Mihai Alexandru Isvanca and Eveline Cismaru were arrested and prosecuted for launching cyber attacks on the surveillance system of Washington DC Police, which they later used to distribute ransomware.

The arrest and prosecution were made as a part of Operation Bukovina that culminated in the arrest of 5 suspects in total on charges of launching cyber attacks and spreading CTB Locker and Cerber Ransomware via email.

Cybersecurity Insiders learned that the two accused who are said to be a couple hacked 123 out of 187 security cameras deployed in the Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia.

As the CCTV cameras were connected to dedicated computers (network video recorders) installed just adjacent to the security camera, Isvanca and Cismaru launched a cyber attack on the computer systems to break into the CCTV network for sending spam emails to victims.

The two Romanian nationals are said to have conducted the hacking operation on January 9th of 2017. And the intrusion was detected by the officials on January 12th who chose to shut down the network until January 15th to clean the network from malware and secure it.

At that time, an article published in Washington Post said that the network was shut down in retaliation to the oath-taking ceremony of Donald Trump as the 45th president of United States.

US Secret Service agents were called in to investigate the incident.

In March 2017 the investigators found that a suspicious SendGrid account registered in the name of David Andrew was used in sending spam emails to 179,616 email addresses. Another two email accounts were also used to send weaponized emails to victims.

US Authorities believe that Isvanca was behind all the three email accounts which compromised the Washington DC’s entire CCTV network. The authorities have included both the Romanian nationals’ names into the UK National Crime Agency’s fraud repository and the prosecution of the hackers is still in progress.

Note- Out of the 5 suspects, other 3 suspects have been sentenced to a 37 months jail imprisonment by a district court in North Carolina.

Naveen Goud
Naveen Goud is a writer at Cybersecurity Insiders covering topics such as Mergers & Acquisitions, Startups, Cyber Attacks, Cloud Security and Mobile Security

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