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Iranians have been charged with cyber attack in Atlanta



According to FBI announcement Wednesday morning, two Iranian citizens have been charged for a series of cyber attacks across America, including the March assault on the city of Atlanta's computer systems.

The cyber attack on Atlanta caused a lot of problems with the city's computer systems and could end up costing $ 17 million to taxpayers, according to one report. Deputy U.S. Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said the indictment also accuses the same defendants of a similar attack on the city of Newark, N.J. and some 200 other victims, including hospitals and health care agencies.

VIDEO: More on the Atlanta Cyber ​​Attack

The attack crippled many key city departments, shut down Watershed Management's online payment portal, wiped out the Atlanta Police Department's dashcam video archive and the city's Municipal Court system descended into chaos.

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, who may still be in Iran, are not in custody.

The FBI said the attacks were part of an increase in such activity from Iran, but officials did not allege that the government was involved.

The defendants used so-called ransomware to shut down computer systems and then demand payments to restore systems, 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 is harmed by state agencies, city governments, hospitals, and countless innocent victims."

EARLIER COVERAGE:


In June, Atlanta announced that it had been 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 called SamSam Ransomware. It was able to forcibly encrypt data on victims' computers, locking out the victims.

The men are accused of seeking out the victims who would be most vulnerable and stand to lose their most by being attacked.

Among the more than 200 FBI victims were hospitals, municipalities, and public institutions. In addition to Atlanta and Newark, other victims were: the Port of San Diego, California; The Colorado Department of Transportation; The University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada; and six healthcare-related entities: The Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center in Los Angeles, California; Kansas Heart Hospital in Wichita, Kansas; Laboratory Corporation of America Holdings, more commonly known as LabCorp, headquartered in Burlington, North Carolina; MedStar Health, headquartered in Columbia, Maryland; The Nebraska Orthopedic Hospital is now known as the OrthoNebraska Hospital, in Omaha, Nebraska and Allscripts Healthcare Solutions Inc., headquartered in Chicago, Illinois.

Return to ajc.com for more on this developing story.


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