It seems like there are a lot more breakins than there are convictions in court, but every now and then the feds catch a big one.
In this case it is Roman Seleznev, the son of a Russian lawmaker. He was accused of costing banks about $170 million in losses and costs to repair the damage.
Roman made the mistake of vacationing in the Maldives in 2014. The U.S. has a much friendlier relation with Maldives than with Russia, so it probably seemed a whole lot easier to extradite him for Maldives. Needless to say, his dad wasn’t happy that he was arrested on vacation. He calls it a kidnapping. However the government has done this many times and it seems to be completely legal. He was charged with 38 counts.
When he was arrested, he had 1.7 million stolen credit card numbers on his laptop,
Supposedly, he hacked into the Point of Sale systems of hundreds of businesses and cost 3,700 banks almost $200 million.
Last week he was convicted and will be sentenced in December. He faces up to 40 years in prison.
But here is the problem. This one conviction will have zero impact on cyber crime. Hackers never think they are going to be arrested. Roman didn’t figure that he was going to be caught.
And even if a few guys decide that they might get caught, there are so many of them that those few will not make a difference.
So in the end, while the prosecutors are trying hard, they will have little effect on the outcome.
Which means that, more than ever, it is up to you to keep yourself safe.