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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
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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