Feeds

Five charged as Feds bust largest credit-card hack in history

Hundreds of millions stolen from biggest names in US

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

Federal prosecutors in New Jersey say they've busted what could be the biggest credit card hacking fraud in US history, with companies such as NASDAQ, 7-Eleven, and Dow Jones falling prey to an Eastern European criminal gang.

According to the indictment, the gang stole data on up to 160 million credit cards and then sold them on in underground forums so that they could be written onto blank cards and be used to withdraw funds. The losses for just three of the many companies they targeted came to over $300m, according to the authorities.

"This type of crime is the cutting edge. 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," said US Attorney Paul Fishman in a statement.

"This case shows there is a real practical cost because these types of frauds increase the costs of doing business for every American consumer, every day. We cannot be too vigilant and we cannot be too careful."

The five men – four Russians and a Ukrainian national – were charged with conspiracy to gain unauthorized access to computers and wire fraud, with additional charges that could see four of the five each facing an extra 120 years in prison.

The government alleges that two of the Russians, Vladimir Drinkman, 32, and Alexandr Kalinin, 26, were the group's hacking team who carried out the penetration of target firms, usually exploiting SQL attacks and then installing trojan software to harvest credit card and personal information from corporate servers.

The two are well known to prosecutors as former associates of cybercrime-kingpin-turned-US-Secret-Service-snitch-turned-recidivist-cyberblagger Albert Gonzalez and are thought to have been the duo behind the successful 2009 hacking of Heartland Payment Systems.

Once the data had been slurped it was passed over to the team's Russian analyst Roman Kotov, 32, who identified the most valuable credit cards and the ancillary information needed to use the numbers for fraudulent traffic, the government claims.

This was then passed on to Muscovite Dmitriy Smilianets, 29, for resale on undergrounds message boards, with the Ukrainian Mikhail Rytikov, 26, providing the anonymous ISP services to enable the sale.

The gang sold US credit-card data ready to be slapped onto a blank card for around $10 per number, while Canadian cards went for $15, and European cards for $50 per user. The gang sold only to credentialed underground buyers, and offered volume discounts for larger buyers.

Drinkman and Smilianets were arrested in the Netherlands in June 2012 after the Dutch police were tipped off by the US authorities and are currently being extradited to the US for trial. Kalinin, Kotov, and Rytikov are still at large.

"As is evident by this indictment, the Secret Service will continue to apply innovative techniques to successfully investigate and arrest transnational cyber criminals," said Special Agent in Charge Mottola of the Newark, New Jersey, Field Office.

"While the global nature of cyber-crime 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." ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Goog says patch⁵⁰ your Chrome
64-bit browser loads cat vids FIFTEEN PERCENT faster!
JLaw, Kate Upton EXPOSED in celeb nude pics hack
100 women victimised as Apple iCloud accounts reportedly popped
Rubbish WPS config sees WiFi router keys popped in seconds
Another day, another way in to your home router
NIST to sysadmins: clean up your SSH mess
Too many keys, too badly managed
Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch
Windows security update fixed after triggering blue screens (and screams) of death
Researchers camouflage haxxor traps with fake application traffic
Honeypots sweetened to resemble actual workloads, complete with 'secure' logins
Attack flogged through shiny-clicky social media buttons
66,000 users popped by malicious Flash fudging add-on
New Snowden leak: How NSA shared 850-billion-plus metadata records
'Federated search' spaffed info all over Five Eyes chums
Three quarters of South Korea popped in online gaming raids
Records used to plunder game items, sold off to low lifes
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.