Faramarz Shahi Savandi, 34, and Mohammad Mehdi Shah Mansouri, 27, are wanted by the FBI.
Photo: FBI
Photo: FBI

Iranians indicted in cyber attack on Atlanta

Deputy U.S. Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announced Wednesday morning that two Iranian citizens have been indicted for a series of cyber attacks across America, including the March assault of the city of Atlanta’s computer systems.

The cyber attack caused a myriad of issues as Atlanta tried to get its systems back online and could end up costing $17 million to taxpayers, according to one report. Rosenstein said the indictment also accuses the same defendants of a similar attack on the city of Newark, New Jersey, and some 200 other victims.

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The defendants, Faramarz Shahi Savandi, 34, and Mohammad Mehdi Shah Mansouri, 27, allegedly collected some $6 million from various victims. Officials declined to say if Atlanta paid a ransom.

The defendants allegedly were in Iran and used so-called ransomware to shut down the computer systems and then demand payments, according to the federal indictment, which was filed in Newark. 

“According to the indictment, the hackers infiltrated computer systems in 10 states and Canada and then demanded payment,” Rosenstein said. “The criminal activity harmed state agencies, city governments, hospitals, and countless innocent victims.”

In June the city announced it had largely recovered from the March attack, but the Atlanta Police Department said it had lost "years" of dashcam video.

The six-count indictment accuses the defendants of a 34-month-long hacking and extortion scheme using malware they called “SamSam Ransomware.” It was capable of forcibly encrypting data on the computers of victims, locking out the victims. The men are accused of seeking out victims who would be most vulnerable and stand to lose the most by being attacked. 

The defendants, who may still be in Iran, are fugitives.

The FBI said the attacks were part of an increase of such activity from Iran, but officials made no allegation that the government of the country was involved.

Click here for more on this developing story.

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