By Tim Wilson
Nov 11, 2009
A group of alleged hackers from Eastern Europe has been indicted on
charges of hacking into a computer network operated by the Atlanta-based
credit card processing company RBS WorldPay, which is part of the Royal
Bank of Scotland.
Eight individuals, mostly from Russia and Estonia, have been charged.
The 16-count indictment charges four of the defendants with conspiracy
to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy to commit computer fraud,
computer fraud, access device fraud, and aggravated identity theft.
The indictment alleges the group used sophisticated hacking techniques
to compromise the data encryption that was used by RBS WorldPay to
protect customer data on payroll debit cards. Payroll debit cards are
used by various companies to pay their employees. By using a payroll
debit card, employees are able to withdraw their regular salaries from
Once the encryption on the card processing system was compromised, the
hacking ring allegedly raised the account limits on compromised
accounts, and then provided a network of "cashers" with 44 counterfeit
payroll debit cards, which were used to withdraw more than $9 million
from more than 2,100 ATMs in at least 280 cities worldwide, including
cities in the United States, Russia, Ukraine, Estonia, Italy, Hong Kong,
Japan, and Canada. The $9 million loss occurred within a span of less
than 12 hours.
The hackers then allegedly sought to destroy data stored on the card
processing network in order to conceal their hacking activity. The
indictment alleges that the "cashers" were allowed to keep 30 to 50
percent of the stolen funds, but transmitted the bulk of those funds
back to the defendants. Upon discovering the unauthorized activity, RBS
WorldPay immediately reported the breach.
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