An Estonian man was sentenced to more than 11 years in prison for his role in a cyber-crime operation that stole more than $9.4 million from a credit card processor.
Sergei Nicolaevich Tšurikov was sentenced on charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and computer intrusion charges in connection with an attack on RBS WorldPay (now WorldPay). In November 2008, Tšurikov and others gained unauthorized access into the computer network of RBS WorldPay, which at the time was the U.S. payment processing division of the Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC in Atlanta.
According to authorities, the group compromised the data encryption used by RBS WorldPay to protect customer data on payroll debit cards. Once the encryption was cracked, the hackers were able to raise the account limits on the compromised accounts. From there, a network of people with 44 counterfeit payroll debit cards withdrew more than $9 million from more than 2,100 ATMs across the globe, including cities in the United States, Russia and Japan.
Afterwards, the hackers attempted to destroy data stored on the card processing network to prevent detection.
“A leader of one of the most sophisticated cybercrime rings in the world has been brought to justice and sentenced,” said United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates, in a statement.
“In just one day in 2008, an American credit card processor was hacked in perhaps one of the most sophisticated and organized computer fraud attacks ever conducted,” Yates said. “Almost exactly one year later, the leaders of this attack were charged. This prosecution was successful because of the efforts of the victim, and unprecedented cooperation from various law enforcement agencies worldwide.”
Tšurikov, 30, of Tallinn, Estonia, pleaded guilty to the charges in September 2012. He was sentenced by United States District Judge Steve C. Jones to a total of 11 years and three months in prison and ordered to pay restitution totaling $8.4 million.