Atlanta didn’t pay the ransom demanded by hackers that infiltrated the city’s computer systems in March, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for North Georgia.
Iranian nationals Faramarz Shahi Savandi and Mohammed Mehdi Shah Mansouri were indicted last week in connection to a series of SamSam cyber attacks that hit Atlanta and several other municipalities, hospitals and state agencies this year. The malware attacks crippled networks and, in Atlanta, disrupted city services by infecting some 3,789 municipal computers.
“The Iranian defendants allegedly used hacking and malware to cause more than $30 million in losses to more than 200 victims,” U.S. deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein said at the time of the indictments. “According to the indictment, the hackers infiltrated computer systems in 10 states and Canada and then demanded payment.”
The Atlanta hackers reportedly demanded a ransom of six Bitcoin – roughly $25,000 – for keys to unlock the infected computers. The ransom note directed the city to a certain website to pay the fee but, according to U.S. Attorney Byung Pak, the website that purportedly contained the decryption key became inaccessible.
“The city of Atlanta did not pay the ransom,” the U.S. attorney’s office said.
The attack “significantly” disrupted city operations and, to date, has costs the city millions of dollars, officials said.
In announcing the indictment, officials with the U.S. Department of Justice said it’s believed the men collected some $6 million in ransom over the years from other targets.