Two Romanians are facing charges of hacking into computer systems which controlled surveillance cameras for the Metropolitan Police Department in Washington, DC, right before the presidential inauguration earlier this year, officials said.
A criminal complaint unsealed in Washington said Mihai Alexandru Isvanca, 25, and Eveline Cismaru, 28, who ended up arrested in Bucharest on December 15, will face charges of conspiracy and various forms of computer fraud.
The Justice Department said the pair disabled 123 of the police department’s 187 outdoor surveillance cameras in early January by infecting computer systems with ransomware in an effort “to extort money” in exchange for unlocking the computer, said the affidavit filed in court.
The case “was of the highest priority” because it had an effect on security plans ahead of the 2017 presidential inauguration, officials said.
The Secret Service and other agencies “quickly ensured that the surveillance camera system was secure and operational” and the investigation found no security threats as a result of the scheme.
Isvanca remains in custody in Romania and Cismaru is on house arrest there pending further legal proceedings, the Justice Department said.