Recently, The Verge reported on a series of ransomware attacks that have hit cities, including Baltimore; Atlanta, Georgia; Newark, New Jersey; and 22 cities in Texas. Even The Weather Channel has been the victim.
But before those attacks there was an attack on the capital of the country, days before the presidential inauguration. An article from The Wall Street Journal details how hackers Alexandru Isvanca and Eveline Cismaru seized control of Washington & DC's surveillance cameras, just before Trump opened. The piece is full of twists and turns, from the small start of the hackers' scam until they finally look up to each other.
The story contains many colorful details about the pair. Here are some highlights:
- The hackers initially did not attempt to hit a DC police camera. They took a break after sending hundreds of thousands of ransomware emails to a list of addresses that were purchased on the dark web – it just happened that at least one was connected to the DC police. Ultimately, they controlled 126 of the 186 DC police computers, which in turn controlled the surveillance cameras.
- Isvanca and Cismaru led authorities directly to a smoking gun. Well, at least a barbecue device that is called a smoking gun. It turned out the couple were using the same hacked DC police computer in a separate Amazon scam that Cismaru was running. She ordered a smoking gun and the sequence number appeared on the police computer so that the authorities could see the destination of the package and raid.
- Isvanca also did not do its best to make its mark. He ordered pizza with the same email address that he used to hack the computers.
- Cismaru said that hacking the capital's surveillance system was easy. "Americans are stupid," she said in a text message The Wall Street Journal.
You can read the rest of the fascinating details in the whole story here.