Russian hacker gets 12-year US prison sentence

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Russian hacker gets 12-year US prison sentence

For role in scheme that stole 160 million credit card numbers.

A Russian citizen has been sentenced to 12 years in prison for his role in a hacking scheme that compromised more than 160 million credit card numbers and caused hundreds of millions of dollars in damages.

Vladimir Drinkman, 37, was sentenced by before US district judge Jerome Simandle in Camden, New Jersey federal court, according to US prosecutors.

Drinkman was arrested in the Netherlands in June 2012 and extradited to the United States in February 2015. He pleaded guilty to charges of conspiring to illegally access computers and conspiring to commit wire fraud in September 2015.

Lawyers for Drinkman and Smilianets could not immediately be reached for comment.

Prosecutors said the two men were part of a hacking scheme dating as far back as 2003 in which they helped install sniffers designed to comb through and steal data from networks of financial companies, payment processors and retailers.

Prosecutors said the defendants then used an array of computers to store and ultimately sell data they collected, fetching US$10 to US$50 (A$12.6 to A$63.1) apiece for credit card numbers depending on country of origin.

The scheme ultimately caused banks and credit card companies to suffer hundreds of millions in losses, including more than US$300 million reported by three companies alone, prosecutors said.

Sixteen companies’ networks were infiltrated, including those of Nasdaq OMX Group, 7-Eleven, France’s Carrefour, JC Penney, JetBlue Airways and Heartland Payment Systems, according to prosecutors.

Drinkman was originally charged as an unnamed defendant in a 2009 indictment accusing Albert Gonzalez of Miami over his involvement in five corporate data breaches.

Gonzalez is serving a 20-year federal prison term.

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