FBI wanted poster for Iranians Mohammad Mehdi Shah Mansouri (L) and Faramarz Shahi Savandi over ransomware attacks on US institutions and companies
The US Government indicted two Iranians and sanctioned two others on Wednesday, accusing them of a ransomware cyber-attack on American hospitals, schools, companies, and government agencies.
The 34-month operation, “SamSam”, carried out attacks on more than 200 targets. Cyber-infrastructure was affected in the cities of Atlanta, Georgia, shutting down courts and much of the local government, and Newark, New Jersey. Hollywood Presbyterian Hospital in Los Angeles had to turn away patients. Laboratory Corporation of American Holdings, the Colorado Department of Transportation, Medstar Health, the port of San Diego, and the Nebraska Orthopedic Hospital were among the other victims.
Governments and private entities suffered more than $30 million in losses, with the hackers allegedly collecting more than $6 million in ransom payments.
The six-count indictment in the US District Court for New Jersey charged Faramarz Shahi Savandi and Mohammad Mehdi Shah Mansouri with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit fraud related to computers, and other counts of intentionally damaging protected computers and illegally transmitting demands.
In Washington, the Treasury said it had sanctioned Ali Khorashadizadeh and Mohammad Ghorbaniyan for exchanging digital ransomware payments into Iranian rials.
Assistant Attorney General Brian Benczkowski said, “The allegations in the indictment unsealed today — the first of its kind — outline an Iran-based international computer hacking and extortion scheme that engaged in 21st-century digital blackmail.”
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein added that, almost the two accused are in Iran, he believed that they would be prosecuted one day: “These defendants are now fugitives from American justice. American justice has a long arm and we will wait and eventually, we are confident that we will take these perpetrators into custody.”