The two men named in the indictment. Image via the U.S. Department of Justice.
Two Iranian computer hackers have been named in connection with the multi million-dollar hacking and extortion program that targeted many U.S. government agencies – including Atlanta.
This past march, the city sustained a massive cyber-attack using ransomware, according to numerous reports from that time. A multitude of city services were impacted by the attack, which was officially the largest successful breach of a major American city’s security by ransomware.
Two of the men allegedly responsible – Faramarz Shahi Savandi and Mehdi Shah Mansouri – were charged in an indictment unsealed Wednesday in New Jersey, according to the Associated Press. Authorities say the hackers were able to extort about $6 million from their victims, which also included hospitals, public institutions and the city of Newark, N.J.
Savandi and Mansouri remain fugitives and are believed to be in Iran, according to the Justice Department.
“The Iranian defendants allegedly used hacking and malware to cause more than $30 million in losses to more than 200 victims,” said Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. “According to the indictment, the hackers infiltrated computer systems in 10 states and Canada and then demanded payment. The criminal activity harmed state agencies, city governments, hospitals and countless innocent victims.”
Atlanta issued a statement regarding the indictments expressing gratitude for the federal government’s help. “The City of Atlanta is aware of the U.S. Department of Justice’s indictment related to the March cyber-attack against the City. We are grateful for all our federal partners who have assisted with identifying the perpetrators and bringing them to justice. The Administration remains committed to ensuring the ongoing safety and security of the City’s cyber-infrastructure, as well as that of the people of Atlanta.”