Alberto Gonzalez was widely credited with leading the largest financial data security breach ever against Heartland Payment Systems in 2008, but the U.S. alleged on Thursday that was but one of many data thefts perpetrated by hackers associated with him.
Paul Fishman, the U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey, and other U.S. authorities indicted five Russians with charges of having coordinated and perpetrated data breaches and thefts against NASDAQ, 7-Eleven, Carrefour, JCP, Hannaford, Heartland, Wet Seal, Commidea, Dexia, JetBlue, Dow Jones, Euronet, Visa Jordan, Global Payment, Diners Singapore and Ingenicard.
Fishman was careful to specify that alleged hack against NASDAQ did not affect its trading platform. The indictment alleged the combined theft stole card data from 160 million card accounts.
“This type of crime is the cutting edge,” Fishman said. “Those who have the expertise and the inclination to break into our computer networks threaten our economic well-being, our privacy, and our national security.
“And this case shows there is a real practical cost because these types of frauds increase the costs of doing business for every American consumer, every day. We cannot be too vigilant and we cannot be too careful.”
The five alleged thieves are all from Russia or other parts of the former Soviet Union. Two of them had been previously identified as “Hacker 1” and “Hacker 2” in the case against Alberto Gonzalez for the Heartland breach.
Two of the five are currently in U.S. custody and three remain at large.