Franco-Venezuelan doctor charged in the United States for selling ransomware

A Franco-Venezuelan doctor has been charged in the United States for the sale of ransomware used in computer attacks, the United States Department of Justice announced on Monday May 16. Moises Luis Zagala Gonzalez, a 55-year-old cardiologist residing in Venezuela, is accused by the American courts of “computer intrusion attempts” and to have “conspired to carry out computer attacks”according to a press release.

“We accuse Mr. Zagala not only of having created and sold ransomware-type products to hackers but also of having trained them in their use”, explained an official of the FBI in New York, Michael Driscoll. Ransomware, or “ransomware,” is a type of program that cripples a company’s computer systems and then demands a ransom to unlock them.

Moises Luis Zagala Gonzalez is notably accused of having developed tools to generate ransomware that has been used to carry out cyberattacks against companies by hackers, including some associated with the Iranian government. If found guilty, Moises Luis Zagala Gonzalez faces up to 10 years in prison.

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