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Friday, July 26, 2013

Feds Identify the Young Russians Behind the Top U.S. Cyber Thefts in Last 7 Years -- By Kim Zetter, Wired, Threat Level

Four Russians and one Ukrainian have been charged with masterminding a massive hacking spree that was responsible for stealing more than 160 million bank card numbers from companies in the U.S. over a seven-year period.

The alleged hackers were behind some of the most notorious breaches for which hacker Albert Gonzalez was convicted in 2010 and is currently serving multiple 20-year sentences simultaneously. The indictments clear up a years-long mystery about two hackers involved in those attacks who were known previously only as Grig and Annex and were listed in indictments against Gonzalez as working with him to breach several large U.S. businesses, but who have not been identified until now.

The hackers continued their activities long after Gonzalez was convicted, however. According to the indictment, filed in New Jersey, their spree ran from 2005 to July 2012, penetrating the networks of several of the largest payment processing companies in the world, as well as national retail outlets and financial institutions in the U.S. and elsewhere, resulting in losses exceeding $300 million to the companies.

The Eastern Europeans have been charged in New Jersey with hacking into Heartland Payment Systems, one of the world’s largest credit and debit card processing companies, as well as Hannaford Brothers, 7-Eleven, JCPenney, and Jet Blue. The hackers are also charged with breaching French retailer Carrefour S.A. and Dexia Bank Belgium.

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