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How a Doomed Couple Hacked the Inauguration

Alexandru Isvanca and Eveline Cismaru got into Washington's video surveillance system
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 26, 2019 11:45 AM CDT
Updated Oct 26, 2019 12:30 PM CDT
A street vendor holds a flag bearing the likeness of President-elect Donald Trump as he passes a line of police vehicles on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 19, 2017, ahead of Friday's...   (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
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(Newser) – Meet Alexandru Isvanca and Eveline Cismaru: The Romanian couple was said to like pizza, playful evenings, and small-time Internet scams. They also allegedly hacked into Washington's video surveillance system just eight days before the 2016 presidential inauguration, the Wall Street Journal reports. "YOUR DOCUMENTS, PHOTOS, DATABASES AND OTHER IMPORTANT FILES HAVE BEEN ENCRYPTED!" was the message on computer screens that were supposed to display streaming videos. The anonymous hackers sought $60,800 in bitcoin for giving up control of the system. Seems the 20-something Romanians had inadvertently hacked into the computers using a ransomware attachment that resembled an invoice.

But Cismaru goofed, using a hacked Washington computer to manage a scheme linked to an email account in her name. Authorities say they tracked a barbecuing accessory called the "Smoking Gun"—which adds "a delicious smoky flavor to your food and drinks"—that she bought on Amazon with a fake card and sold to a London buyer. Later arrested at another boyfriend's house ("I'm pregnant!" she cried), Cismaru was extradited to the US in 2018, pleaded guilty on two counts, and agreed to rat on Isvanca, the Washington Post reported last year. Isvanca is considered the main perpetrator and faces extradition from Romania to the US. Luckily, American agents managed to get the video system up and running three days before President Trump's inauguration. (Read more hackers stories.)

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