Russian hackers charged in 'biggest' data breach case, 160mn credit card numbers stolen

July 25, 2013

Catherine Benson

A US court has charged four Russians and a Ukrainian for stealing more than 160 million credit card numbers, which the prosecution says has resulted in hundreds of millions of dollars in losses for major corporations worldwide.

The five have been charged with running a sophisticated hacking organization that penetrated computer networks of more than a dozen major American and international corporations over seven years.

As the indictments were announced on Thursday in Newark, N.J., a local US attorney called it “the largest hacking and data breach scheme ever prosecuted in the United States.”

The so-called “dumps” acquired by the hackers amounted to more than 160 million credit and debit card numbers, attorney Paul Fishman said in a statement. According to indictments, the group was selling stolen data to “dumps resellers,” who in turn offered them to individuals and organizations, partly by means of online forums.

The end-point individuals referred to as “the cashers” used the information by encoding it into blank plastic cards, and then cashed out the value. While in the case of debit cards they directly withdrew money from ATMs, credit card 'duplicates' were used for running up charges and purchasing goods.