Iranian hackers charged with attacks on US cities
The Justice Department unsealed charges Wednesday against two Iranian criminal hackers who allegedly used ransomware to hit American hospitals, universities, government agencies and the city of Atlanta, causing tens of millions of dollars in damages.
In all more than 200 victims were affected, more than $6 million in ransom collected and damages exceeded $30 million, officials said. Ransomware encrypts data on affected systems, with an offer to decrypt if a ransom is paid.
This is the first time federal prosecutors are bringing charges against hackers for using ransomware with Bitcoin exchanges, according to officials. Bitcoin exchanges transfer traditional currencies into Bitcoin, or Bitcoin into traditional currencies.
The 25-page indictment charges that the hackers’ scheme was for their own personal profit, and was not government directed.