In what is being lauded as the biggest cyber crime in the history of the United States, federal prosecutors have brought charges in a cyber crime ring that reportedly cost companies over $300 million. The suspects allegedly hacked into companies in order to commit credit card fraud. Five people have been charged in the spree and two men are in custody.
The investigation has been building for many years. Companies attacked by the hackers include some well-known names like J.C. Penny, JetBlue Airways Corp and other companies used by Illinois residents and throughout the country. Authorities also alluded to a breach against Nasdaq but didn’t provide much further information on that fact.
It’s believed that at least five men are involved in the cyber attack and so far, all of the suspects are from outside the U.S. Prosecutors believe that the men stole credit card numbers for over 160 million cards thus contributing to the $300 million loss. The men were able to avoid detection for a while by using an anonymous web-hosting system created by one of the suspects. The group allegedly made a profit by selling the stolen data from the credit cards.
U.S. Attorneys think this type of crime is cutting-edge, pointing out the group’s ability to disable anti-virus software and store data on hacking platforms around the world. The suspects in this case are all non-citizens and prosecutors are awaiting their extradition back to the U.S.
For U.S. citizens charged with computer crimes, it is a different story. U.S. citizens are afforded certain rights and protections under our constitution and justice system. It is of utmost importance that prosecutors uphold these rights and follow the legal process when pursuing federal charges. A defendant can best arm himself or herself against a violation of these rights by working with an adept and skilled criminal defense attorney.
By Robert Kerr
Source: Chicago Tribune, “U.S. indicts hackers in biggest cyber fraud case in history,” David Jones and Jim Finkle, July 26, 2013