DOJ indicts 2 in cyberattack against MedStar Health, municipalities - Technical.ly Baltimore

Civic

Nov. 28, 2018 3:59 pm

DOJ indicts 2 in cyberattack against MedStar Health, municipalities

The Iranian citizens were behind the SamSam ransomware, the U.S. Department of Justice alleges.
Union Memorial Hospital.

Union Memorial Hospital.

(Courtesy photo)

The U.S. Department of Justice indicted two Iranian citizens Wednesday in connection with a 2016 cyberattack on Maryland’s MedStar Hospital, as well as municipalities.

The indictment alleges Faramarz Shahi Savandi and Mohammad Mehdi Shah Mansouri worked from inside Iran to carry out ransomware attacks, in which they would shut down computer systems and demand Bitcoin payments in exchange. The two were not arrested, but are now wanted by the FBI.

The malware used was known as the SamSam ransomware. Attackers gained access to a system remotely, and installed it. The March 2016 attack against Columbia-based MedStar Health, which runs Baltimore’s Union Memorial Hospital and nine other hospitals in the region, encrypted data at the hospital, freezing up access to electronic health records. The health system continued to provide care, but were forced to use paper records in some cases.

“The defendants chose to focus their scheme on public entities, hospitals, and municipalities,” said U.S. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who previously served as U.S. Attorney of Maryland. “They knew that shutting down those computer systems could cause significant harm to innocent victims.”

In all, they attacked 200 victims, including the high-profile attack on the City of Atlanta, additional hospitals and the Port of San Diego. They collected a total of $6 million in extortion payments, and caused $30 million in losses, according to the DOJ. The U.S. Department of the Treasury also sanctioned people in Iran who exchanged Bitcoin payments for the alleged attackers.

Advertisement

The indictment marked the first in a ransomware case, according to the feds.

“The events described in this indictment highlight the need for businesses, healthcare institutions, universities, and other entities to emphasize cyber security, increase threat awareness, and harden their computer networks,” said Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski.

-30-
BECOME A CONTRIBUTOR TO THE JOURNALISM FUND TO COMMENT
Already a contributor? Sign in here
Connect with companies from the Technical.ly community
New call-to-action

Advertisement

These Howard County cybersecurity companies formed a biz partnership

How DreamPort is creating space for collaboration on cyber challenges

Annapolis’ SIXGEN grabbed the win at DEFCON 27’s Capture the Flag

SPONSORED

Baltimore

Why two eminent Baltimore higher-ed institutions collaborated to create this unique dual degree program

Philadelphia

Vistar Media

Sr. Software Engineer

Apply Now

Philadelphia

Vistar Media

Front End Engineer

Apply Now

Baltimore, MD

14 West

BI TechOps Analyst

Apply Now

Power Moves: Leadership changes at CAMI and Maryland Momentum Fund

UMBC and UMB are joining forces to protect and probe medical data

clean.io releases data behind malicious ads

SPONSORED

Baltimore

What Asymmetrik is doing to help lead healthcare’s digital transformation

Baltimore, MD

14 West

Scrum Master

Apply Now

Baltimore, MD

14 West

Lead Qlik Developer

Apply Now

Baltimore, MD

14 West

Senior Qlik Developer

Apply Now

Sign-up for daily news updates from Technical.ly Baltimore

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!