US prices Venezuelan physician with promoting ransomware utilized by Iranian group

US prices Venezuelan physician with promoting ransomware utilized by Iranian group

NEW YORK : A Venezuelan heart specialist who taught himself laptop programming offered software program that was utilized by an Iranian hacking group to assault Israeli firms, U.S. prosecutors mentioned on Monday in bringing felony prices in opposition to him.

Moises Zagala, 55, licensed his software program to cybercriminals who deployed it to extort victims for cash, in keeping with a grievance filed in federal court docket in Brooklyn, New York.

Zagala marketed his Jigsaw v. 2 device on a web-based discussion board for US$500, and provided to promote the underlying supply code for US$3,000, the grievance mentioned.

Breon Peace, the U.S. Legal professional for the Japanese District of New York mentioned in an announcement that Zagala bragged about profitable assaults utilizing his packages, “together with by malicious actors related to the federal government of Iran.”

Zagala faces two counts of tried laptop intrusions and conspiracy to commit laptop intrusions. He lives in Ciudad Bolivar, Venezuela, and has not been arrested by U.S. authorities. A message Reuters despatched to an Instagram account for Zagala’s clinic in Ciudad Bolivar was not instantly returned.

In late 2019, he began providing one other product, Thanos, to hackers in change for some income from their ransomware assaults, in keeping with the grievance, which was written by FBI agent Chris Clark. Clark purchased a license for this system and downloaded it to a pc in america.

Zagala in 2020 posted hyperlinks on a message board to information articles in Russian about an Iranian hacking group, MuddyWater, that used Thanos software program to focus on Israeli organizations, Clark mentioned.

U.S. authorities in February described MuddyWater as a gaggle of Iran-linked cyber operators and mentioned it had focused a spread of presidency and private-sector organizations throughout Asia, Africa, Europe and North America. Iran’s mission to the United Nations known as the allegations “baseless.”

A few of Zagala’s shoppers have been directed to make funds to a PayPal account registered to his brother in Florida, the court docket doc mentioned. It mentioned the brother advised the FBI Zagala had taught himself laptop programming.

(Reporting by Luc Cohen in New York; modifying by Grant McCool)