Credit Card Hacker Sentenced to A Decade for 9.4 Million Dollar Theft

| October 26, 2014 | 0 Comments

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Reporting by April Weathers

International hacker is sentenced to eleven years in prison for conspiracy to commit wire fraud and involvement in stealing over $9.4 million from a credit card processor.

Tšurikov, 30, of Tallinn, Estonia pleaded guilty to these charges on September 11, 2102. He is set to serve eleven years and three months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release. He is also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $8,400,000.

Tšurikov is said to be the leader of one of the most sophisticated cybercrime rings in the world whose crimes date back to 2008, stealing more than $9 million from over 2,100 ATMs in at least 280 cities worldwide, including cities in the United States, Russia, Ukraine, Estonia, Italy, Hong Kong, Japan and Canada. The $9 million loss occurred within a span of less than 12 hours.

“In just one day in 2008, an American credit card processor was hacked in perhaps one of the most sophisticated and organized computer fraud attacks ever conducted,” said United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates. ” Almost exactly one year later, the leaders of this attack were charged. This prosecution was successful because of the efforts of the victim, and unprecedented cooperation from various law enforcement agencies worldwide.”

According to United States Attorney Yates, the charges and other information presented in court: During November 2008, Tšurikov and others obtained unauthorized access into the computer network of RBS WorldPay, what was then the U.S. payment processing division of the Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC, located in Atlanta, Ga. The group used sophisticated hacking techniques to compromise the data encryption that was used by RBS WorldPay to protect customer data on payroll debit cards.  Payroll debit cards are used by various companies to pay their employees. By using a payroll debit card, employees are able to withdraw their regular salaries from an ATM.

Once the encryption on the card processing system was compromised, the hacking ring raised the account limits on compromised accounts, and then provided a network of cashers with 44 counterfeit payroll debit cards, which were used to withdraw more than $9 million from over 2,100 ATMs in at least 280 cities worldwide, including cities in the United States, Russia, Ukraine, Estonia, Italy, Hong Kong, Japan and Canada. The $9 million loss occurred within a span of less than 12 hours.

The hackers then sought to destroy data stored on the card processing network in order to conceal their hacking activity.  The cashers were allowed to keep 30 to 50 percent of the stolen funds, but transmitted the bulk of those funds back to Tšurikov and his co-defendants. Upon discovering the unauthorized activity, RBS WorldPay immediately reported the breach, and has substantially assisted in the investigation.

The crime was immediately reported by RBS World Pay who assisted in the investigation of the case by Special Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation with assistance by international law enforcement partners, along with United States Secret Service.

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