Five men have been charged in the hacking scheme in which 160 million credit card numbers were stolen and used to run up a tab of hundreds of millions of dollars, the Department of Justice announced Thursday.
The suspects — four Russian nationals and a Ukrainian — were charged Thursday with their involvement in what the government is calling "the largest such scheme ever prosecuted in the United States."
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According to a DOJ news release, one of the accused hosted "bullet-proof" web-hosting services
, two of the defendants hacked corporate networks, one mined and stole sensitive data, and the fifth sold that information to "identity theft wholesalers."
Two of the men were arrested in the Netherlands in June 2012. One was extradited to the United States, where he'll soon appear in a New Jersey federal court to face the charges of hacking conspiracy, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, unauthorized computer access, and wire fraud, CNN reported.
The other three men are still at large as of Thursday.
"Those who have the expertise and the inclination to break into our computer networks threaten our economic well-being, our privacy, and our national security," U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman, whose jurisdiction is New Jersey, said in the release. "And this case shows, there is a real practical cost because these types of frauds increase the cost of doing business for every American consumer, every day."
The suspects reportedly targeted more than a dozen American and international companies between 2005 and 2012 using computers in seven different countries. The companies include JCPenney, Carrefour, 7-Eleven, Nasdaq, JetBlue, Dow Jones, and Ingenicard.
"While the global nature of cybercrime continues to have a profound impact on our financial institutions, this case demonstrates the global investigative steps that U.S. Secret Service Special Agents are taking to ensure that criminals will be pursued and prosecuted no matter where they reside," Special Agent in Charge James Mottola of the U.S. Secret Service said in a statement.
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