Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Russia Arrests Alleged Mastermind of RBS WorldPay Hack

Via Wired.com -

Russian authorities have nabbed the man accused of masterminding a coordinated global ATM heist of $9.5 million from Atlanta-based card processing company RBS WorldPay.

Viktor Pleshchuk, 28, of St. Petersburg, was arrested by the Russian Federal Security Service, or FSB, according to the Sunday Mail, which broke the story last week in the United Kingdom.

The Financial Times confirmed the arrest this week, adding that Pleshchuk was among “several suspects” arrested. The paper didn’t name the other suspects or say when any of them were arrested. The arrests are being touted by some as signaling a new era of cooperation between Russian and U.S. authorities.

Pleshchuk was indicted in the United States last November with Sergei Tsurikov, 25, of Tallinn, Estonia; Oleg Covelin, 28, of Chisinau, Moldova; and a fourth person identified only as “Hacker 3.” The government described the caper as “perhaps the most sophisticated and organized computer fraud attack ever conducted.”


Former FBI special agent E.J. Hilbert, who worked diligently with others to convince Ukrainian authorities to arrest Golubov in 2005, is doubtful that Pleshchuk will do any serious time.

“The cooperation between the FBI and FSB related to this arrest is monumental, and I’m hopeful it truly is a new era of cooperation,” he told Threat Level. “But I am extremely skeptical. Any criminal making this amount of money will be well connected and thus protected.


The FBI has been pushing recently to embed agents in countries such as Estonia, Romania and Ukraine to help go after these types of cybercriminals. The embedding was inspired by a successful operation in Romania, begun in 2006, which led to close to 100 arrests.

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