5 charged in vast credit-card hacking scheme

U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman talks about the arrest of four Russian nationals and a Ukrainian, who have been charged with running a sophisticated hacking organization that over seven years penetrated computer networks of more than a dozen major American and international corporations, during a news conference, Thursday, July 25, 2013, in Newark, N.J. The group, according to Fishman, is connected with stealing and selling at least 160 million credit and debit card numbers, resulting in losses of hundreds of millions of dollars. Princeton-based Heartland Payment Systems Inc., which processes credit and debit cards for small to mid-sized businesses, was identified as taking the biggest hit in a scheme starting in 2007  the theft of more than 130 million card numbers at a loss of about $200 million. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman talks about the arrest of four Russian nationals and a Ukrainian, who have been charged with running a sophisticated hacking organization that over seven years penetrated computer networks of more than a dozen major American and international corporations, during a news conference, Thursday, July 25, 2013, in Newark, N.J. The group, according to Fishman, is connected with stealing and selling at least 160 million credit and debit card numbers, resulting in losses of hundreds of millions of dollars. Princeton-based Heartland Payment Systems Inc., which processes credit and debit cards for small to mid-sized businesses, was identified as taking the biggest hit in a scheme starting in 2007 the theft of more than 130 million card numbers at a loss of about $200 million. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
Posted: July 27, 2013

NEWARK, N.J. - Four Russians and a Ukrainian have been charged with running a sophisticated hacking organization that penetrated the computer networks of more than a dozen major U.S. and international corporations over seven years, stealing and selling millions of credit and debit card numbers, resulting in losses of hundreds of millions of dollars.

Indictments were announced Thursday in Newark, where U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman called the case the largest hacking and data breach scheme ever prosecuted in the United States.

Princeton-based Heartland Payment Systems Inc., which processes credit and debit cards for small to midsize businesses, was identified as taking the biggest hit in a scheme starting in 2007 - the theft of more than 130 million card numbers at a loss of about $200 million.

Atlanta-based Global Payment Systems, another major payment processing company, had nearly one million card numbers stolen, with losses of nearly $93 million, prosecutors said.

The indictment did not put a loss figure on the thefts at some other major corporations, including Commidea Ltd., a European provider of electronic payment processing for retailers. The government said hackers in 2008 covertly removed 30 million card numbers from its computer network.

About 800,000 card numbers were stolen in an attack on the Visa network, but the indictment did not cite any loss figure.

The defendants were identified as Vladimir Drinkman, 32; Aleksander Kalinin, 26; Roman Kotov, 32; Dmitriy Smilianets, 29, all of Russia; and Mikhail Rytikov, 26, of Odessa, Ukraine.

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