Four Russians and one Ukrainian have been charged with stealing at least 160 million credit and debit card numbers that were sold, resold and then turned into cash by countless buyers, ultimately costing American companies at least $300 million in losses, reports the Newark Star-Ledger. U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman said it is the largest hacking and data breach scheme ever prosecuted in the United States. Only two of the suspects are in custody.
According to a 37-page indictment, for seven years the sophisticated hackers penetrated the computer networks of 17 major retailers, financial institutions and payment processors. The targets included Dow Jones, J.C. Penney, 7-Eleven and Princeton-based Heartland Payment Systems, one of the world's largest processors of credit and debit cards for businesses. The hackers used malware placements to create “back door” access that allowed the thefts.