$260 Million Credit Cards Hacked by Group of Russian Hackers

One of the five guys charged for the crime of  perpetrating the largest cracking scheme ever prepared in the U.S., which attracted rampant attention with the stealing of more than 160 million credit card information, pleaded not guilty on Monday, according to the news source Reuters.

The accusations levied against the hacker Dmitriy Smilianets, of the age 29, included conspiracy to commit wire fraud, actually commiting that wire fraud, and unauthorized access to computers that do not belong to him. If found guilty for the crimes the court stated, he could spend the next 65 years (which will be most of his life) in the prison.

Smilianets is originating from  Russia but was extradited to the U.S. from Holland in the second part of 2012. On Monday, he entered his not guilty plea in the federal court in Newark, New Jersey. According to the one of the most reliable news sources Reuters, his lawyer plans to battle the charges and look for irregularities and problems around Smilianets’ arrest in the Netherlands.

The massive security breach in the system that Smilianets was allegedly discovered and was involved in including hacks into a handful of pretty reputable companies, such as Heartland Payment Systems, 7-Eleven, JetBlue Airways, and J.C. Penny. The hack is claimed to have cost the firms a combined total of more than 300 million dollars straight.

According to the news source Reuters, Nasdaq was also breached, but this piece of  information wasn’t released until last month when the federal agents accused the group of 5 hackers of carrying out the massive hacking scheme. Prosecutors told Reuters the Nasdaq breach didn’t include the stock trading platform and that the hackers weren’t able to get any money from this specific breach.

The hacking group’s cyberattacks began in 2005 and lasted at least until the summer of 2012, according to federal prosecutors. Of the five accused, one other accused hacker is in custody, while the three others are still considered on the run.

 

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The group of hackers allegedly visited the stores of certain retailers to discover any holes in their payment systems. They were also allegedly able to install software on some of the company’s computer systems, opening up a back door into the systems. They were said to have used computers around the world for storing malware and stolen data and launching attacks.

 

Once they allegedly obtained stolen credit card numbers, the hackers supposedly sold the numbers to others who then encoded the data onto magnetic stripes of blank cards. These blank cards could then be used to withdraw thousands of dollars from ATM machines.

The alleged mastermind behind one of the attacks, Albert Gonzalez, was caught and charged in 2008, and sentenced to 20 years in prison in 2009. According to Reuters, Smilianets allegedly worked with Gonzalez but once the mastermind was arrested, Smilianets broke off on his own and allegedly carried out more cyberattacks.