Assistant US Attorneys Eric L. Iverson and Anand P. Ramaswamy Receive Attorney General’s David Margolis Award for Exceptional Service in Disrupting International Cybermalware Exploitation | USAO-MDNC
Today, Attorney General Merrick B. Garland announced the recipients of the 69th Annual Attorney General’s Awards, recognizing Department of Justice employees and partners for their extraordinary contributions to law enforcement in our nation. This year, two Assistant United States Attorneys from the Central District of North Carolina received the Attorney General’s David Margolis Award, along with numerous law enforcement partners, for their exemplary work targeting the operation of the Emotet malware. The Attorney General’s David Margolis Award is the department’s highest honor for employee performance.
“This year’s recipients have selflessly served to advance the Department’s important work in support of the rule of law, the security of our country, and the protection of civil rights,” said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland, talking about all the winners. “I am proud to recognize these individuals for their professionalism, skill and leadership, and I am grateful for the service they have rendered to our department and our country. »
Assistant US Attorneys Iverson and Ramaswamy were recognized today for their role in a multinational operation involving actions in the United States, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom disrupting Emotet malware and botnet. According to court documents, Emotet was a malware family targeting critical industries around the world, including banking, e-commerce, healthcare, academia, government, and technology. The Emotet malware mainly infected victims’ computers through spam emails containing malicious attachments or hyperlinks. The emails have been crafted to appear to come from a legitimate source or from someone on the recipient’s contact list. Once it has infected a victim computer, Emotet could deliver additional malware to the infected computer, such as ransomware or malware that steals financial credentials.
Emotet operators targeted more than 1.6 million computers worldwide between April 1, 2020 and January 17, 2021, including approximately 45,000 located in the United States. Attacks on this software cost millions in losses, including $1.4 million in losses in the Central District of North Carolina, where the software targeted North Carolina school districts in 2017. Since then, several other victims in North Carolina have been targeted by this software, causing more damage and financial loss to the citizens of the Mid-District. In addition to financial losses, these cyberattacks have disrupted business operations, interfered with government services and damaged critical infrastructure in several countries.
“AUSAs Iverson and Ramaswamy have dedicated countless hours to this case and to protecting the digital security of businesses and individuals in the Middle District of North Carolina, and beyond. law enforcement, they have gone above and beyond to protect the information and privacy of individuals everywhere,” said U.S. Attorney Sandra Hairston. “They are extremely deserving of this award and the recognition of their service by the Attorney General.”
“The Emotet malware investigation began with a small school system in North Carolina and quickly rose to become one of the world’s top cyberthreats. Our special agents, IT specialists and analysts have worked tirelessly with local, federal and international partners on this case, and we are honored to have them recognized nationally for their extraordinary work,” said Special Agent in Charge Robert R. Wells of the FBI Charlotte Field Office.
Attorney General Garland recognized Supervisory Special Agent Jessica A. Nye, Special Agents Peter Ahearn, Jr, Blair H. Newman and John A. Maser, Computer Scientists Lindsey Chiesa and Naomi R. Patrick, Charlotte Field Office; Supervisory Special Agent Thomas S. Breeden, Baltimore Field Office; Supervisory Special Agent Carrie A. Crot, Cyber Division; Intelligence Analyst Sean A. McDermott, Richmond Division, FBI and; Senior Counsel Ryan Kao Jeung Dickey, Criminal Division, along with AUSAs Iverson and Ramaswamy.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of North Carolina, the FBI’s Charlotte Division, and the Criminal Division’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section (CCIPS) carried out the operation in close cooperation with Europol and Eurojust. who were integral to coordination and messaging, and investigators and prosecutors from several jurisdictions, including the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the French National Police and the Paris Court of Justice, the German Federal Criminal Police and the Attorney General’s Office of Frankfurt/Main, the Lithuanian Criminal Police Office, the Netherlands National Police and the National Prosecutor’s Office, the Swedish Police Authority, the National Police of Ukraine and the Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine, and the National Crime Agency and Crown Prosecution Service of UK. The Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs and the US Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) have also provided significant assistance. CCIPS lead attorney Ryan KJ Dickey and assistant U.S. attorneys Eric Iverson and Anand Ramaswamy of the North Carolina Intermediate District led the U.S. effort.