Friday, May 14, 2021

Five Charged in Largest Ever Hacking Scheme

Prosecutors have indicted five foreign nationals for involvement in what they say is the largest known hack attack in the U.S. The men are accused of stealing millions of account numbers, leading to $300 million in losses for American companies.

Bloomberg’s David Voreacos reported, “Four Russians and a Ukrainian were charged in what prosecutors called the largest hacking scheme in U.S. history, a break-in to computers of retail chains that included 7-Eleven Inc. and Carrefour SA (CA), the French retailer. U.S. prosecutors in New York separately indicted one of the five men and another Russian in a hacking scheme that targeted the Nasdaq OMX Group Inc. (NDAQ) and 800,000 bank accounts at Citigroup Inc. (C) and PNC Financial Services Group Inc.”

Computerworld’s Grant Gross added, “Companies reported $300 million in losses from the attacks, the DOJ said in a statement. Charged in an indictment unsealed Thursday in U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey were Vladimir Drinkman, 32, of Syktyykar and Moscow, Russia; Alexandr Kalinin, 26, of St. Petersburg, Russia; Roman Kotov, 32, of Moscow; Mikhail Rytikov, 26, of Odessa, Ukraine; and Dmitriy Smilianets, 29, of Moscow.”

E. Scott Reckard and Paresh Dave with the Los Angeles Times explained that the group used SQL injection attacks. They added, “Most of the computer hacking, as detailed in the indictments, occurred several years ago. Cybersecurity experts said it could have been blocked then with better cautionary measures and would be especially easy to prevent now.”

Reuters quoted a person familiar with the case, who said, “Here’s the world’s biggest hacker. We got lucky.”

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