A federal grand jury has indicted one Russian and six Eastern Europeans for hacking into the computer system of Atlanta-based RBS WorldPay and stealing, in less than 12 hours, $9.4 million from automated teller machines in 280 cities across the world.
“This investigation has broken the back of one of the most sophisticated hacking rings in the world,” Sally Yates, acting U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Georgia, said in a statement.
The grand jury in Atlanta indicted Viktor Pleshchuk, 28, of St. Petersburg, Russia; Oleg Covelin, 28, of Chisinau, Moldova; and five Estonians: Sergei Tsurikov, 25, Igor Grudijev, 31, Ronald Tsoi, 31, Evelin Tsoi, 20, and Mihhail Jevgenov, 33. Another person, identified only as "Hacker 3," was also indicted.
In November 2008, Mr. Pleshchuk, Mr. Tsurikov and Mr. Covelin hacked into the RBS WorldPay computer network, according to the indictment. RBS WorldPay is the U.S. payment processing division of the Royal Bank of Scotland.
The three alleged hackers decoded the encryption on debit cards used by companies to pay their employees. They then allegedly raised the amount of funds available on the cards and issued 44 counterfeit cards to a network of “cashers” who withdrew more than $9.4 million from 2,100 ATMs in Canada, Estonia, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Russia, Ukraine and the United States.