A US judge sentenced a pair of Russians who led a massive hacking and data breach scheme to lengthy criminal sentences, the US Department of Justice announced today. Vladimir Drinkman, 37, was sentenced to 12 years in prison, while Dmitriy Smilianets, was sentenced to over four years by US District Judge Jerome Simandle in New Jersey. The Russian nationals, who had previously pled guilty, are part of a gang that targeted major retailers and the Nasdaq stock exchange. They stole some 160 million credit card numbers and then sold them through online markets, officials said.
The conspiracy resulted in millions of dollars of losses, “one of the largest such schemes ever prosecuted in the United States,” the Justice Department said. The hackers, who were extradited to the United States from Holland, penetrated the networks of the Nasdaq, 7-Eleven, Carrefour, and Dow Jones, among others, which collectively lost more than USD 300 million between 2005 and 2012. The biggest hack at the time was at Heartland, a major payment processor hit by malware that allowed thieves to steal 130 million card numbers, resulting in more than USD 200 million in losses.
“These defendants operated at the highest levels of illegal hacking and trafficking of stolen identities,” said First Assistant US Attorney William Fitzpatrick. “Perpetrators of some of the largest data breaches in history, these defendants posed a real threat to our economy, privacy and national security, and cannot be tolerated.” The Justice Department also has indicted three others in the conspiracy who remain at large: Alexandr Kalinin and Roman Kotov, both of Russia, and Mikhail Rytikov of Ukraine.