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Russia arrests RBS WorldPay ATM heist suspect

23 March 2010  |  10458 views  |  0 digital fingerprints

Russian authorities have arrested the alleged mastermind behind the 2008 cyber-attack on RBS WorldPay's computer network, which lead to the theft of over $9 million, according to the Financial Times.

Viktor Pleshchuk, who was one of eight suspects from Eastern Europe named in a US federal grand jury indictment last year, has been detained by the the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB), along with "several" other people, says the paper.

US authorities believe Pleshchuk and Estonian Sergei Tsurikov were the ringleaders behind the attack, which compromised the encryption used by the processor to protect customer data on payroll debit cards.

This allowed the gang to raise the limits on accounts before handing over 44 counterfeit payroll debit cards to a network of "cashers" who withdrew over $9 million in less than 12 hours from more than 2100 ATMs in at least 280 cities worldwide, including in the US, Russia, Ukraine, Estonia, Italy, Hong Kong, Japan and Canada.

The arrest of Pleshchuk is being hailed as a breakthrough in relations between Russia and the US on law enforcement. However, Russian law forbids extradition of citizens, meaning Pleshchuk is likely to face trial in his homeland.

Authorities in Estonia have already arrested Tsurikov and arranged his extradition after noticing suspicious withdrawals from ATMs in Tallinn.

Moscow gets tough on cybercrime as ID theft escalates - FT

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