Security & Fraud

US-Linked Hacker Pleads Guilty To Credit Card Data Theft

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Federal prosecutors confirmed a Ukrainian hacker, who has previously been accused of trying to frame a well-known U.S. cybersecurity expert, pled guilty to committing cybercrimes that took place from Sept. 2010 to Aug. 2012.

Sergey Vovnenko pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Esther Salas in Newark, New Jersey, to charges of aggravated identity theft and conspiracy to commit wire fraud for stealing login and credit card data by using more than 13,000 computers, Reuters reported Wednesday (Jan. 20).

Vovnenko admitted to gaining unauthorized access to the machines through the use of malware, reportedly as part of an international conspiracy to launch cyberattacks on both individuals and companies.

Around the time of Vovnenko’s extradition in 2014, cybersecurity reporter Brian Krebs, who runs the cybersecurity blog Krebs on Security, accused Vovnenko of a plot to send heroin to Krebs’ home and then calling police after the drugs arrived.

Due to Krebs’ ability to track Vovnenko’s online activities, he was able to hinder the attempt and call the authorities himself.

“In short, the antics didn’t end when I foiled his plot to get me arrested for drug possession, and those antics likely contributed to his arrest and to this guilty plea,” Krebs wrote in a recent blog post. “The aggravated ID theft charge to which Vovnenko pleaded guilty carries a mandatory two-year sentence. The other charges he copped to will lengthen his sentence and include fines.”

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