U.S Charges Two Iranian Hackers for SamSam Ransomware Attacks

[ Nov 29, 2018 ]

The Department of Justice announced Wednesday charges against two Iranian nationals for their involvement in creating and deploying the notorious SamSam ransomware.

The alleged hackers, Faramarz Shahi Savandi, 34, and Mohammad Mehdi Shah, 27, have been charged on several counts of computer hacking and fraud charges, the indictment unsealed today at New Jersey court revealed.

The duo used SamSam ransomware to extort over $6 million in ransom payments since 2015, and also caused more than $30 million in damages to over 200 victims, including hospitals, municipalities, and public institutions.

Since both hackers live in and operated from Iran, they have not yet been arrested by the United States authorities and the FBI has added them on their list of wanted hackers.

According to the indictment, Savandi and Mansouri created the first version of the SamSam Ransomware in December 2015 and created further refined versions of the threat in June and October 2017.

Leaving behind other well-known ransomware viruses like WannaCry and NotPetya, SamSam became the largest paid ransomware of its kind with one individual victim paid $64,000.

Since Iran has no extradition policy with the United States, the indictment may not guarantee the extraditions or convictions of the two alleged hackers. But being on the wanted list of the FBI make it difficult for the duo to travel outside their country’s boundary freely.

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