Justice Department charges two Iranian nationals in ransomware scheme

November 28, 2018

A federal grand jury on Wednesday lodged an indictment against two Iranian nationals, who stand accused of causing more than $30 million in damages to more than 200 victims through a sophisticated ransomware scheme.

Faramaz Shahi Savandi, 34, and Mohammad Mehdi Shah Mansouri, 27, are charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, conspiracy to commit fraud and related activity in connection with computers, two counts substantive counts of international damage to a protected computer and two counts of transmitting a demand in relation to damaging a protected computer.

Prosecutors say the two operated the ransomware scheme, which started in December 2015, from inside Iran. The pair allegedly extorted victims by demanding a ransom paid in a digital currency.

“The allegations in the indictment unsealed today the first of its kind outline an Iran-based international computer hacking and extortion scheme that engaged in 21st-century digital blackmail,” said Assistant Attorney General Brian Benczkowski.

Victims included the city of Newark, New Jersey, the Colorado Department of Transportation, the city of Atlanta and the Port of San Diego.

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