A Turkish man Ercan Findikoglu, 34 years old, plead guilty to a number of cyber-attacks which made him access around $55 million through withdrawals at ATM’s made through compromised cards and payment processors and prepaid cards.
“Segate” as he is commonly known together with his other “business” names “Predator” and “Oreon” was filled with computer intrusion conspiracy, access device fraud conspiracy and effecting transactions with unauthorized access devices. He was seen as the leader of the gang that carried out the attacks which happened between the years 2011 and 2013.
The attacks surprisingly were not in his home country Turkey but rather in the Eastern District of New York mainly and in other 24 countries. The “Predator and his gang apparently hacked into a number of companies which do debit and credit processing, they then stole the data for prepaid debit cards and removed the withdrawal limits for these cards.
This then further allowed them to take control of network administrator accounts and in turn, they could lift the PIN numbers of the vulnerable debit cards before further handling the information to their other partners.
With all this information, they managed to make withdrawals amounting to the amount in question and having gains on particular days as evidenced by their withdrawal of amounts reaching $10 million on February 27 and 28 in 2011. Reports say they laid low for the following 10 months until they struck again in December where they stole a further $5 million across 20 countries.
US prosecutors claim that on their third and final heist they managed to get away with $40 million and in New York City they got in excess of $2.4 million in less than 11 hours. The Turkish national was caught in Germany in 2013 and had been trying to fight the extradition to the US since then.
The American Attorney responsible for the case Mr. Robert Capers said that:
“By hacking into the computer networks of global financial institutions, the defendant, and his co-conspirators were able to wreak havoc with the worldwide financial system by simultaneously withdrawing tens of millions of dollars. Today’s guilty plea by a leader of these massive attacks demonstrates this office’s commitment to pursue those who use the perceived safety and anonymity of their computers to steal from innocent victims.”
The “Oreon” faces a jail term of up to 57 years and 6 months in prison though he might be helped by his guilty plea.
The increased number of hackings and cyber-attacks can only make us wonder what’s in store for us in future as humans.