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Earlier this month, two indictments were brought against two Vietnamese citizens residing in the Netherlands, for their respective roles in hacking email service providers throughout the United States. One of the defendants pled guilty to the charges. In addition, a federal grand jury returned an indictment this week against a Canadian citizen for conspiring to launder the proceeds obtained as a result of the massive data breach.
According to the U.S Department of Justice, “These men – operating from Vietnam, the Netherlands, and Canada – are accused of carrying out the largest data breach concerning private names and email addresses in the history of the Internet.” Assistant Attorney General Caldwell said “the defendants had allegedly made millions of dollars by stealing over a billion email addresses from email service providers. This case again demonstrates the resolve of the Department of Justice to bring accused cyber hackers from overseas to face justice in the United States.”
“The case reflects the problems posed by today’s cybercrime, when hackers don’t target just a single company. In this case they targeted most of the country’s email distribution firms,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Horn.
“The scope of the intrusion is unnerving in that the hackers didn’t stop after stealing the companies’ proprietary data, but went on to hijack the companies’ own distribution platforms in order to send out bulk mail, reaping the profits from email traffic directed at specific websites,” elaborates Horn.
“Large scale and sophisticated international cyber hacking rings are becoming more problematic for both the law enforcement faced with identifying and catching them, and the fortune 500 companies being targeted,” said Special Agent in Charge Johnson.
The investigation carried out by FBI’s legal attaches stationed abroad, cooperating with Dutch law enforcement officials, targeted not only the hackers but the businesses that helped monetize the data that was stolen from victim companies. “Our success in this case and in other similar investigations is a result of our close work with our law enforcement partners,” said Special Agent in Charge Moore.
“IRS Criminal Investigation is committed to unraveling financial transactions to ensure that those who engage in these illegal activities are vigorously investigated and brought to justice. Individuals who line their pockets with money gained through deceiving others should know they will not go undetected and will be held accountable,” said Special Agent in Charge Hyman-Pillot.