Russian hacker caught in Amsterdam extradited to US

Washington Post:
At noon on June 28, 2012, Vladimir Drinkman, targeted as one of America’s most wanted cybercriminals, and his wife hustled into a cab pulling away from their Amsterdam hotel. They had just been tipped off that the police were on to them, but an unmarked police car blocked their getaway. The Russian was handcuffed and arrested on charges of helping to mastermind what has been called the largest criminal hacking scheme ever prosecuted in the United States.

This week, after a protracted extradition proceeding, a Dutch court ruled that Drinkman will be sent to the United States to stand trial.

Drinkman, 34, is accused of taking part in a string of marquee hacks: the penetration of the electronic stock exchange Nasdaq, the theft of more than 130 million credit card numbers from Heartland Payment Systems, and cyber-­heists that victimized 7-Eleven, the Hannaford Brothers supermarket chain, Visa Inc., Dow Jones Inc. and Jet Blue, among others.

If convicted, he could face up to 30 years in prison. He is alleged to be part of a ring whose actions, prosecutors say, have caused more than $300 million in losses and led to countless stolen identities.

Led by the U.S. Secret Service, the case is one of the most significant prosecutions in the annals of cybercrime. Not only are high-value hackers difficult to trace because of techniques used to mask their identities, but many of them also are in countries of the former Soviet Union, where extradition is virtually impossible.
There is much more.

Unless this guy starts cooperating against others involved in the cyber thefts he should be locked up for a very long time if found guilty.  His main value to law enforcement would be to explain how the operations were launched and how they tried to cover their tracks.  If he could help find a way to find and destroy the hackers he might be worth a reduced sentence if convicted.


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