A second alleged conspirator is currently in a Romanian prison awaiting extradition.
A Romanian national has pleaded guilty for her role in hacking more than 125 surveillance cameras in the D.C. metro area ahead of the 2017 inauguration of President Donald Trump.
Eveline Cismaru, 28, was charged with hacking into 126 computers connected to cameras installed and used by the Metropolitan Police Department and locking them down with ransomware, a type of malware used to extort targets by crippling IT systems until the hackers are paid.
Once the computers were locked down, Cismaru and alleged co-conspirator 25-year-old Mihai Alexandru Isvanca, of Romania, reached out to the department demanding $60,800 in Bitcoin to unlock the machines, according to a release issued Thursday by the U.S. Secret Service. The cameras were unable to record for four days while the computers were locked. However, MPD IT specialists were able to take the devices offline, wipe, reinstall and reboot the systems without having to pay the ransom.
But while in the system, the hackers also leveraged their access to attack more department computers.
“At the time investigators disrupted the scheme, the conspirators were in the process of attacking as many as 179,616 other computers using stolen e-mails, e-mail passwords and banking credentials,” the Secret Service said, adding that the rapid response from the MPD chief technology office prevented the scheme from affecting inauguration security.
Cismaru and Isvanca were arrested in Romania in December 2017, where Isvanca remains in custody pending extradition. Cismaru “fled Romania weeks after her arrest,” according to the Secret Service, and was later captured in the United Kingdom and extradited to the U.S.
Cismaru pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit computer fraud. As part of the plea deal, she agrees to cooperate fully with the investigation.
She is scheduled to be sentenced in December.