Romanian woman pleads guilty to Washington D.C., ransomware attack

File photo: Gephardt Daily

Sept. 21 (UPI) — A Romanian woman pleaded guilty Thursday for her role in a ransomware attack on security cameras throughout Washington D.C., the U.S. Department of Justice said.

Eveline Cismaru, 28, pleaded guilty to U.S. District Judge Dabney L. Friedrich for one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit computer fraud, which carry maximum sentences of 20 years and five years in prison respectively.

The charges stem from a conspiracy between Cismaru and 25 year-old Mihai Alexandru Isvanca to illegally access about 126 computers associated with Metropolitan Police Department surveillance cameras and to use them to distribute ransomware in 2017.

“The computer intrusion was used to execute a ransomware attack,” the Justice Department said. “Once activated, the ransomware locked 126 infected computers connected to MPD surveillance cameras. The ransomware then displayed instructions explaining how to unlock each computer by the payment of Bitcoin.”

If paid in full, the ransom would have totaled about $60,800.

Both were arrested at an airport in Otopeni, Romania on Dec. 15 and authorities found the ransomware on MPD surveillance camera computers between Jan. 9 and Jan. 12.

Cismaru fled Romania after her arrest and was arrested again in Britain on March 23, and extradited to the United States on July 26.

Isvanca remained in Romania where she awaits extradition.

As a condition of her guilty plea, Cismaru agreed to fully cooperate in the investigation of the incident and is set to be sentenced Dec. 3.


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