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Romanian Woman Pleads Guilty for Hacking MPD Surveillance Cameras


Eveline Cismaru, a woman from Romania, aged 28, was charged for hacking computer systems and surveillance cameras that were connected to the MPD (Metropolitan Police Department), has admitted her guilt.


As per the prosecutors, Cismaru, along with Mihai Alexandru Isvanca, aged 25 years, planned a conspiracy and together illegally accessed 126 computers which were connected with surveillance cameras that were installed as well as used by the Metropolitan Police Department. In Jan. 2017, the duo successfully hacked the network of MPD and infected the same with ransomware.


Press release of the Department of Justice reads, "according to the government's evidence, beginning in early January 2017, and continuing through Jan. 12, 2017, a computer hacking attack on the MPD computer network disabled two-thirds of the outdoor surveillance cameras operated by MPD in the District of Columbia, just days before the 2017 Presidential Inauguration".


Though there is no mention of the kind of ransomware that were infected into the computers, the ransomware came along with the instruction on the ransom notes, which instructed that to unlock the hacked computer - pay the ransom amount through bitcoin. As per the legislation enforcement, the malicious code asked a ransom amount of more than $60,000, for every PC.


During the same time when the ransomware scheme was operating, Isvanca and Cismaru also converted many compromised systems in order to deploy additional variants of ransomware along with malware payloads. However, the Metropolitan Police Department did not pay any ransom to the hackers, and they were able to gain control over the infected computer systems and surveillance cameras.


The Department of Justice further added that, "at the time investigators disrupted the scheme, the conspirators were in the process of attacking as many as 179,616 other computers using stolen emails, email passwords, and banking credentials".


Both the hackers, Isvanca and Cismaru were tracked and then arrested by investigators last year in December, from Bucharest, Romania. Cismaru however was able to flee to the United Kingdom, and was then contained by the local law enforcement there. She was extradited to the United States in the month of July this year. Isvanca is still awaiting to be extradited to the United States.


The sentencing of Cismaru will be held on December 3.

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