Estonians charged in 'highly sophisticated' hacking case

  • 2009-11-13
  • Oskars Magone

The hackers were supposedly able to access account data, which was used to withdraw money in a number of cities around the world.

TALLINN - Five Estonians have been charged in a high-profile computer hacking case that allegedly saw the defendents steal more than 9 million US dollars in just one day.

Estonian Sergei Tsurikov and three accomplises - including one Russian, one Moldovan and a fourth unnamed suspect - were charged with fraud and identity theft. Four more Estonians were charged with access device fraud for alledgedly using fake debit card to withdraw cash from a number of different ATM machines.

"This investigation has broken the back of one of the most sophisticated computer hacking rings in the world," Acting US Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said in a statement. 

The four primary defendents allegedly broke into the RBS WorldPay network on November 4, 2008. There they reportedly got the details for a number of accounts, which they passed on the "cashers" who used the information to withdraw money.

The "cashers" were allegedly allowed to keep a certain percentage of the money they withdrew. The hackers remained in the system to moniter the withdrawels in realtime.

Over the course of 12 hours money was withdrawn from 2,100 ATMs located in at least 280 cities around the world.

Court proceedings are being held in Atlanta, Georgia, United States.

The defendents are aged between 25 and 33.