Two Russians sentenced to prison for role in hacks against U.S. companies

The Robert F. Kennedy Department of Justice Building in Washington, D.C. (Wikimedia Commons)

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Two Russian men were sentenced to prison in the United States on Wednesday after they pleaded guilty to their roles in one of the largest hacking schemes to ever hit the U.S.

Vladimir Drinkman, 37, was sentenced Wednesday to 12 years in prison and Dmitriy Smilianets, 34, to 51 months and 21 days in prison. The pair were arrested in the Netherlands in 2012 and pleaded guilty in 2015. Prosecutors said there were 17 corporate victims, and three of them alone lost more than $300 million combined.

As friends in Moscow, Drinkman and Smilianets “targeted major corporate networks, compromised 160 million credit card numbers and resulted in hundreds of millions of dollars in losses,” according to the Justice Department.

“Drinkman and Smilianets not only stole over 160 million credit card numbers from credit card processors, banks, retailers, and other corporate victims, they also used their bounty to fuel a robust underground market for hacked information,” acting Assistant Attorney General John P. Cronan said in a statement.

The pair admitted to a conspiracy with three other co-defendants to hack into the networks of retailers and financial transmitters like Nasdaq, 7-Eleven and JetBlue.

Alongside Alexandr Kalinin, 31, of St. Petersburg, Russia, Drinkman penetrated the targeted networks, the Justice Department’s indictment explained. Drinkman and Roman Kotov, 36, of Moscow allegedly mined the networks for data. They used web hosting from Mikhail Rytikov, 30, of Odessa, Ukraine.

Smilianets handled the sales: $10 for a stolen U.S. credit card number, $50 for a European card number with full personal data and $15 for the Canadian equivalent. With that, his customers created their own fake cards and withdrew money at ATMs or made purchases with the fraudulent data.

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7-Eleven, Alexandr Kalinin, banking, credit cards, cybercrime, Department of Justice (DOJ), Dmitriy Smilianets, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), financial, fraud, JetBlue, legal, Mikhail Rytikov, Nasdaq, retailers, Roman Kotov, Russia, Vladimir Drinkman
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