Two Iranian Nationals Indicted in Local Cryptojacking Case
ST. LOUIS – Yesterday, a federal grand jury indicted Danial Jeloudar and Saeeid Safaei for conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Both defendants are Iranian nationals believed to be living abroad.
This is the first cryptojacking case to be prosecuted in the Eastern District of Missouri. “Cryptojacking has nothing to do with whether a victim owns cryptocurrency,” said Special Agent in Charge Richard Quinn of the FBI St. Louis Division. “It’s about criminals hijacking the use of your computer’s processing power to generate and cash out cryptocurrency.”
Cryptojacking is when cyber criminals fraudulently gain access to a victim’s device to use its computing power to generate or “mine” cryptocurrency. Computing power is needed for a virtual master ledger that uses complicated algorithms to verify and record cryptocurrency transactions. Individuals or groups can dedicate their computer power and be rewarded with cryptocurrency.
According to court documents, both defendants conspired to victimize a technology company in St. Charles, Missouri by fraudulently gaining access and using the company’s account on a cloud service. By misrepresenting themselves through the victim company’s account, the defendants fraudulently authorized the cloud service provider to build and install at least five new computer servers in the cloud. The purpose of the new servers was to run and operate software programs to generate cryptocurrency.
The fraud came to light when the victim company received a bill of more than $760,000 from the cloud service provider related to the use of fraudulent servers.
The following cyber security practices can minimize your risk of cryptojacking:
- Two-step authentication will make it harder for criminals to gain access to your online accounts.
- Monitor log-in history to detect suspicious activity early.
- Audit cloud storage to verify contents.
Charges set forth are merely accusations and do not constitute proof of guilt. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty.
The FBI St. Louis Division investigated this case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kyle T. Bateman handled the case.