Russian Hacker Behind Nasdaq and Citibank Heist Gets 12 Years in Prison

Photo: Bloomberg

Both Vladimir Drinkman and Dmitriy Smilianets pleaded guilty in 2015

One of the men, who organised a diligent hack of the Nasdaq and Citibank was sentenced to 12 years in prison. The perpetrators of a massive scale operation that perforated the defences of one of the largest exchanges in the world. The group of five individuals of Russian origin has also successfully bypassed the security systems of Citigroup.

Two out of five individuals were apprehended at the time, with Russian hackers Vladimir Drinkman and Dmitriy Smilianets pleading guilty in 2015. The federal court has sentenced them to 144  and 51 months, respectively.

A Well Coordinated Effort

Proceedings started all the way back in 2013 as five men got indicted on federal charges. The accusations included the use of an exploit using trading text strings that took advantage of SQL-injection vulnerabilities. The heist facilitated the extraction of login credentials and sensitive personal data from the servers of several companies.

Drinkman and Smilianets admitted to their roles in a conspiracy to hack into the networks of a number of corporate victims. According to the indictment, each of the five individuals played a different role in the heist.

Drinkman and Alexandr Kalinin, from of St. Petersburg, who still remains at large allegedly specialized in penetrating network security. Drinkman and Roman Kotov, from Moscow, allegedly specialized in mining the networks to steal valuable data.

Hosting services were provided by an individual that was located in Odessa, Ukraine, Mikhail Rytikov. Kalinin, Kotov and Rytikov remain unaccounted for.

Over $300 million in Damages

The group used malware to open a permanent backdoor access to the network connections of the firms. The heist resulted in damages worth hundreds of millions of dollars with only three of the corporate entities attacked by the group reporting damages worth up to $300 million.

“Drinkman and Smilianets not only stole over 160 million credit card numbers from credit card processors, banks, retailers, and other corporate victims, they also used their bounty to fuel a robust underground market for hacked information,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Cronan.

“While mega breaches like these continue to affect millions of individuals around the world, hackers and would-be hackers should know that the Department of Justice will use all available tools to identify, arrest, and prosecute anyone who attacks the networks on which businesses and their customers rely,” Mr. Cronan elaborates.

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