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RBS credit card hackers face court over $9 million theft

Eight people charged for hacking Royal Bank of Scotland payment processing arm

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A US grand jury in Atlanta has indicted eight people related to hacking into a computer network operated by credit-card processing vendor RBS WorldPlay and stealing US$9 million.

Indicted Tuesday were Sergei Tsurikov, 25, of Tallinn, Estonia; Viktor Pleshchuk, 28, of St. Petersburg, Russia; Oleg Covelin, 28, of Chisinau, Moldova; and a person known only as Hacker 3.

They were charged in a 16-count indictment of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy to commit computer fraud, computer fraud, access device fraud and aggravated identity theft.

Also indicted in US District Court for the Northern District of Georgia were Igor Grudijev, 31, Ronald Tsoi, 31, Evelin Tsoi, 20, and Mihhail Jevgenov, 33, each of Tallinn, on a charge each of access device fraud.

The indictment alleges that the group used sophisticated hacking techniques to compromise the data encryption that was used by RBS WorldPay to protect customer data on payroll debit cards, which are used by companies to pay employees.

Using a payroll debit card, employees are able to withdraw their regular salaries from an ATM.

Once the encryption on the card-processing system was compromised, the hacking ring allegedly raised the account limits on compromised accounts, and then provided a network of so-called "cashers" with 44 counterfeit payroll debit cards, the US Department of Justice said.

Those counterfeit cards were used to withdraw more than $9 million from more than 2,100 ATMs in about 280 cities worldwide, including cities in the US, Russia, Ukraine, Estonia, Italy, Hong Kong, Japan and Canada.

The $9 million loss happened in less than 12 hours last November.

The hackers then allegedly sought to destroy data stored on the card-processing network in order to conceal their hacking activity, the DOJ said.

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