Russian hackers plead guilty in credit card theft case

Two Russian men plead guilty to a multinational hacking operation that stole over 160 million credit and debit cards.

Dmitriy Smilianets and Vladimir Drinkman both plead guilty earlier this week at a U.S. District Court in Camden, New Jersey. Both were caught while vacationing in the Netherlands in June of 2012 and extradited to the U.S. to face trial for their prior crimes. They will be sentenced in January and face up to 30 years in prison.

The two were a part of a five man operation, including two other Russians and one Ukrainian, who hacked into some of the world's largest corporations, including computers used by the Nasdaq exchange, over a period of seven years.

The other three individuals are still at large.

According to testimony from the U.S. Attorney's office, the group uploaded malware to computer systems and used them as a way to collect information. Every so often, the stolen data was gathered and sold on internet black market sites. The purchasers then cloned what they bought onto blank magnetic strip cards and used them for as long as they were valid.

While it is unclear how much money was actually stolen through the use of the cards, three of the 17 major U.S. corporations who were affected suffered over $300 million in losses.

Evidence of the attacks was discovered during an investigation into another cybercrime case. The hacker in that case was caught and was sentence, but agreed to help federal investigators as an informant, leading to the identification of the five member hacking ring. That hacker is currently serving a 20 year sentence.

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