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Russian national accused in largest-ever hacking scheme is up for hearing in federal court today
Vladimir Drinkman a Russian national accused being the operator in one of the biggest hacking scams is due to make his court appearance today. Drinkman, 34 was arrested in Amsterdam in 2012 and extradited to America after losing a two-year extradition battle in the Netherlands. Drinkman and co-conspirator Dmitriy Smilianets, 30, were arrested in June 2012 while traveling in the Netherlands.
He will appear in the U.S. District Court this afternoon to face charges on account of being a part of global hacking network that siphoned 160 million credit and debit card numbers from 17 major United States based retailers, financial institutions and payment processors.
Drinkman’s alleged hack victims include Dow Jones, NASDAQ, J.C. Penney, JetBlue, 7-Eleven and Princeton-based Heartland Payment Systems and together with his cybercrime gang, Drinkman is estimated to have made upt0 $500 million in cash from the hacking operations.
New Jersey U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman said three companies alone lost $300 million – a total he’s called a “conservative estimate.” “The actual loss figure may be much, much higher,” Fishman had stated at the time of indictment of Drinkman and four others, three from Russia and one from the Ukraine
The prosecutors have stated that Drinkman allegedly used his expertise to hack into the companies’ computer networks to retrieve credit and debit card information. He apparently uploaded malware in to the victims companies computers and exfiltrated payment card information which was then sold of in “dumps” in the underground forums on the dark web.
Drinkman and others turned the data over to Smilianets, who brokered deals for the data across the globe, prosecutors say. So-called “cashers” encoded the stolen data onto the magnetic strips of blank plastic debit and credit cards, prosecutors say
Drinkman and his cybercrime gang ran the hacking operation from 2005 to 2012 until his arrest in Amsterdam. He was nabbed with the help of another hacker, Albert Gonzalez, a high school dropout who turned FBI informant after being caught in another case.
Heartland which operates a gateway for processing credit and debit card payments to PoS and retailers bore the brunt of Drinkman’s hacking scheme losing approximately $200 million alone.