Occasionally, the good guys win.
Russian hacker Roman Seleznev, son of a Russian Parliament member was sentenced to 27 years in jail after being convicted on 38 counts.
The idiot made the mistake of vacationing in the Maldives, either thinking the FBI didn’t know who he was, wasn’t watching him or thinking he was special and above the law (which he may well have been in Russia). Perhaps he didn’t understand the concept of extradition. In any case he was picked up, charged in Guam and then flown to Seattle to stand trial.
Although he was on vacation, the laptop he had with him had 1.7 million stolen credit cards on it. While it doesn’t say, I am thinking those credit card numbers were not encrypted or hidden.
He was tried in Seattle because some of his victims were there, including The Broadway Grill, which closed in 2013, citing the credit card hack as one of the reasons.
Roman’s father, the Russian legislator, accused the U.S. of kidnapping his son. In Russia, stealing millions of credit cards and causing $170 million in losses to businesses is considered normal, so arresting and convicting his son for that is out of line.
This sentence is the longest ever handed down to a hacker in the United States.
Information for this post came from ARS Technica.
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.