Four Russian nationals and a Ukrainian 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.
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.
“They targeted some of the largest companies in the world, stealing millions of credit and debit card numbers and causing hundreds of millions of dollars in losses to their victim,” Fishman said.
Prosecutors said more than 160 million credit card numbers were stolen in the scheme, WCBS 880′s Levon Putney reported.
The victims in a scheme that allegedly ran from 2005 until last year included the electronic stock exchange NASDAQ; 7-Eleven Inc.; JCPenney Co.; the New England supermarket chain Hannaford Brothers Co.; JetBlue; Heartland Payment Systems Inc., one of the world’s largest credit and debit processing companies, French retailer Carrefour S.A., and the Belgium bank Dexia Bank Belgium.
The indictment says the suspects sent each other instant messages as they took control of the corporate data, telling each other, for instance: “NASDAQ is owned.” At least one man told others that he used Google news alerts to learn whether his hacks had been discovered, according to the court filing.
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