Credit card hacking charges have been leveled against four Russians and a Ukrainian in what U.S. prosecutors are calling the biggest cyber fraud case in U.S. history.
Investigators believe the group of five men stole at least 160 million credit card numbers to notch losses of more than $300 million, Reuters reported
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Prosecutors say the group disabled anti-virus software on their victims’ computers. Then they would sell credit card numbers online to others, who would use them to make bogus credit cards.
“This type of crime is the cutting edge,” U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman told Reuters. “Those who have the expertise and the inclination to break into our computer networks threaten our economic wellbeing, our privacy, and our national security.”
Networks run by companies including J.C. Penney, 7-Eleven, JetBlue, Nasdaq, and Dow Jones were among those targeted, CNN reported
The government is accusing Russians Vladimir Drinkman, 32, and Alexandr Kalinin, 26, of hacking into computers. Roman Kotov, 32, of Russia is accused of mining computers for data. They are accused of keeping their activities hidden by using a web-hosting service provided by Mikhail Rytikov, 26, of Ukraine. Russian Dmitriy Smilianets, 29, is accused of selling the stolen data.
Stolen American credit card numbers were sold for $10, the government says. Canadian cards collected $15 and European cards fetched $50, according to Reuters.
The ring is accused of operating from 2005 to 2012.
An indictment also named Albert Gonzalez as a co-conspirator, Reuters reports. He is serving 20 years in prison after pleading guilty for his role in stealing millions of credit and debit cards.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office said Drinkman and Smilianets were arrested June 28, 2012, in the Netherlands. Authorities have not disclosed the whereabouts of the other three.
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