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Details Released About the Largest Hacking and Data Breach Case Ever Prosecuted in the United States

A recently unsealed indictment from the U.S. Attorney’s offices details the charges of four Russian fraudsters and one Ukrainian about their involvement in hacking and data breaches starting back in 2005 that compromised over 160 million credit cards. The hackers have ties to Albert Gonzalez who was charged in 2010 for his involvement with the Heartland Payment Systems, TJ Maxx and other data breaches.

The five men were all charged with conspiracy to gain unauthorized access to computers and conspiracy to commit wire fraud which have combined maximum prison sentences of 35 years each. Two men were arrested in the Netherlands in 2012 while another is in federal custody after his 2012 extradition, meanwhile two more are still at large. The five men are believed to have all conspired with Albert Gonzales and had a hand in the large data breaches that targeted TJX and Heartlands Payment Systems. Other organizations they hacked included JCPenney, JetBlue, Hannaford Bros., 7-Eleven, Carrefour S.A., Dexia Bank Belgium, Dow Jones and NASDAQ. Three of the attacked organizations reported losses of at least $300 million resulting from the data breaches.

Each of the five men were had different roles in their data breach and fraud scheme. One fraud ring member utilized anonymous web hosting services to hide the group’s activities while two targeted different organizations with SQL injections. Another member then mined the organizations’ networks for credit card information and other data while the fifth person sold the stolen information on the black market. Information stolen from the data breaches included credit and debit card numbers, personally identifiable information, usernames and passwords. Much of the credit and debit card information sold was encoded on to counterfeit credit cards and used for making purchases and ATM withdrawals.

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