A group of computer hackers, four of them Russian nationals and an Ukrainian, were charged today in Newark by the US Attorney Paul Fishman for running a sophisticated scheme which allowed them to break into various computer networks and steal an impressive amount of credit cards numbers.Actually, this seems to be the worst case of credit card fraud in US history.
The hackers were identified as Vladimir Drinkman, Aleksander Kalinin, Roman Kotov, Dmitriy Smilianets and Mikhail Rytikov(the latter is the Ukrainian guy).
Allegedly, these four young Russians managed to steal 160 million credit cards over the last 7 years, so basically they were busy stealing for 7 years in a row without being caught by the impressive surveillance system created by the NSA, CIA, you name it.
Along with credit cards, they were busy stealing all kinds of sensitive data, i.e. usernames and passwords from online bank accounts, private data generally, used for online identification, along with the credit card numbers. All the data was later sold on the black market, on hacker forums, to various individuals and criminal organizations.
The first security breaches were identified in a couple of brokerage firms in New Jersey and it is suspected that they were infiltrated at least since 2007. The modus operandi was to install sniffers (malicious software) on the computers which allowed the hackers to intercept all the internet traffic from the targeted networks, hence obtaining all the credit cards and private data later used in their criminal operation.
The company that took the largest hit was Heartland Payment Systems INC, a credit card processing company, they hackers stole over 130 million credit cards from here since 2007, along with Global Payment Systems, another payment processing company, which lost ~1 million credit cards numbers in the same period of time. The estimated losses for these two companies alone are exceeding $300 million.
NASDAQ and Dow Jones were also victims of these Russian hackers,as they managed to steal their customers log-in info credentials. Apparently, they didn’t interfere with the trading process, but this is hard to believe, to me at least, since the hackers when talking to each other, they stated that ““NASDAQ is owned.” so you go figure.