US Charges Hackers Over Huge Global Operation, Largest in History 

Victims were hit to the tune of $300 million

US authorities on Thursday indicted five men on charges of running a global hacking operation that enabled them to steal the bank card numbers of 160 million people.

Prosecutors in Newark, New Jersey described the scheme as the largest hacking and data breach case ever prosecuted in the United States.

According to the indictment, the men -- four Russians and a Ukrainian -- targeted major payment processors, retailers and financial institutions around the world over the course of seven years, resulting in hundreds of millions of dollars in losses.

The defendants were charged with attacks on, among others, NASDAQ, Visa Jordan, the Belgian bank Daxia, and Diners Singapore.

"This type of crime is the cutting edge," New Jersey US Attorney Paul Fishman said.

"Those who have the expertise and the inclination to break into our computer networks threaten our economic well-being, our privacy and our national security."

The defendants were named as Russians Vladimir Drinkman, Alexandr Kalinin, Roman Kotov and Dmitriy Smilianets, and Ukrainian Mikhail Rytikov.

Only Smilianets is currently in US custody. He was arrested in the Netherlands last year along with Drinkman and extradited. Drinkman is awaiting an extradition hearing in the Netherlands. The other three suspects are still at large.

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