WASHINGTON — The Justice Department said two Iranian computer hackers have been charged in connection with a multimillion-dollar cybercrime and extortion scheme that targeted US government agencies and businesses.
Faramarz Shahi Savandi and Mohammad Mehdi Shah Mansouri were charged in an indictment unsealed Wednesday in New Jersey.
The DOJ said the pair deployed the SamSam Ransomware into the systems of more than 200 institutions, including the governments of Atlanta, Georgia and Newark, New Jersey, seeking to freeze their operations until they paid ransoms by bitcoin.
“The hackers infiltrated computer systems in 10 states and Canada and then demanded payment. The criminal activity harmed state agencies, city governments, hospitals, and countless innocent victims,” said Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
Authorities say the hackers were able to make about $6 million.
Craig Carpenito, the US attorney for New Jersey, said the scheme was a “dangerous escalation of cybercrime” because it targeted public institutions.
The two men remain fugitives and are believed to still be in Iran.