Accused Russian Hacker Comes To U.S. Court

A Russian hacker who allegedly masterminded cyberattacks in the U.S. that netted 160 million credit and debit card numbers has finally seen the inside of a U.S. courtroom, according to Bank Info Security.

Vladimir Drinkman, who was indicted in U.S. federal court in 2009 and arrested in The Netherlands in June 2012, appeared in a New Jersey federal courtroom on Tuesday (Feb. 17) to plead not guilty to 11 charges filed against him by the U.S. Justice Department. Trial for Drinkman and one of his alleged accomplices is scheduled to begin on April 27.

The two-year delay was for Dutch authorities to settle competing extradition requests by U.S. and Russian authorities. In November 2014, Justice and Security Minister Ivo Opstelten decided to extradite Drinkman to the U.S. because U.S. authorities filed their request first. A Dutch court approved the extradition in late January.

The 34-year-old Drinkman allegedly ran a cybercrime ring that attacked payments processors Global Payments, Heartland Payment Systems and Commidea, as well as retailers 7-Eleven, Carrefour, JCPenney, Hannaford and Wet Seal, Belgian-French bank Dexia and airline JetBlue, along with Dow Jones, Euronet, Visa Jordan, Diners Singapore, Ingenicard and the NASDAQ stock exchange.

In the alleged attacks, the gang “unlawfully acquired more than 160 million card numbers through hacking,” U.S. prosecutors said in a prepared statement. “As a result of the scheme, financial institutions, credit card companies and consumers suffered hundreds of millions in losses – including more than $300 million in losses reported by just three of the corporate victims – and immeasurable losses to the identity theft victims in costs associated with stolen identities and false charges,” the statement said.

Along with Drinkman, another Russian — 31-year-old Dmitriy Smilianets — will also face trial in April. Smilianets allegedly sold the card data and other information stolen by the gang and distributed the profits to the gang members. Three other alleged gang members — two Russians and one Ukrainian — have also been indicted but remain at large.


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