Internet hackers steal 160 million credit card details for fraudulent use

Four Russians and a Ukranian have been indicted for massive hacking scam and internet theft, plus the hacking of the

Four Russians and a Ukranian have been indicted for massive hacking scam and internet theft, plus the hacking of the Nasdaq by one of the accused.

The biggest hacking scheme in history has resulted in the indictment of 5 individuals in Newark, New Jersey, who are being held responsible for payment-card theft with $300 million stolen from European and US companies (from August 2005 – July 2012) including well-known names like JetBlue, 7-Eleven, JCPenney and Dow Jones. In addition, one of the Russians who have been indicted was charged with hacking the NASDAQ stock exchange, but luckily, he failed to penetrate the trading platform.

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Russians, Vladimir Drinkman and Dmitriy Smilianets, were arrested in the Netherlands in 2012. Smilianets was extradited to the US while Mr. Drinkman is still in custody in the Netherlands waiting for an extradition hearing. The other three: Roman Kotov and Alexandr Kalinin as well as Ukrainian, Mikhail Rytikov, are not yet in custody.

The way the scheme worked was: card numbers and other data were downloaded; details were then sold on the black market. Smiliantes priced the data according to country of origin with American cedit-card numbers at $10, European credit card numbers at $50 and Canadian credit-card numbers at $15. The new ‘owners’ of the details then encoded the card data onto magnetic strips of plastic cards and went to town, spending the money of scammed consumers.

Mr. Kalinin, the one that has been charged with hacking the NASDAQ stock exchange’s business servers, installed malware, which enabled the accessing of the virus infected NASDAQ servers and the implementation of “change”, “delete” and “steal” commands.

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Even though, the trading floor was not accessed, cyber-attacks on financial exchanges have become an increasingly dangerous reality with 53% of the World Federation of Exchanges group, reporting cyber-attacks over the past year. As a result, experts fear this kind of cyber-attack as a far greater, future threat, than that of credit-card fraud.

Scott Borg, director and chief economist of the US Cyber Consequences Unit, writes in a report: “The worst cyber threats that the financial sector will soon be facing may not be thefts of money.”

“Some of the new cyber-attacks will simply aim to steal [the information of financial services]. Others will attempt to alter or manipulate it to create business and market effects.”



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