Accused Russian Hacker Extradited for Record-Breaking Spree

MANHATTAN (CN) – A Russian accused of victimizing more than 80 million in a record-breaking hack will be presented before a federal magistrate Friday afternoon following his extradition earlier today from the former Soviet republic of Georgia.

“Andrei Tyurin, a Russian national, is alleged to have participated in a global hacking campaign that targeted major financial institutions, brokerage firms, news agencies, and other companies,” U.S. Attorney George Berman said in a statement. “Tyurin’s alleged hacking activities were so prolific, they lay claim to the largest theft of U.S. customer data from a single financial institution in history, accounting for a staggering 80 million-plus victims.”

Federal prosecutors unsealed a pair of indictments in announcing the charges, but neither document identifies the targeted corporations, which are said to include several of the world’s largest financial institutions, brokerage firms and financial news publications.

Prosecutors say that Tyurin’s co-conspirators include Israeli nationals Gery Shalon and Ziv Orenstein, as well as U.S. citizen Joshua Aaron. The trio were charged in another high-profile hacking case involving JPMorgan in late 2015.

When that case was unsealed three years ago, then-U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara told reporters that the case represented a “brave new world of hacking for profit” pointing to the “next frontier of securities fraud.”

“In short, it is hacking as a business model,” said Bharara, who also likened the scheme at the time to “securities fraud on cyber-steroids.”

At the time, the Wall Street Journal cited anonymous sources in reporting that its parent company, Dow Jones, was a victim, along with J.P. Morgan, E-Trade Financial and Scottrade.

As in the 2015 case, Tyurin is said to have targeted two software-development companies, which are described in the new indictment as based in Curacao and Costa Rica.

Prosecutors claim that Tyurin and his co-conspirators had been involved in “various illegal activities” including online gambling and the distribution of counterfeit pharmaceuticals online and malicious software.

Tyurin faces up to 92 years imprisonment if convicted of nine counts of hacking, wire fraud, illegal gambling and other charges. The Moscovite is expected to be presented before a magistrate judge this afternoon and will have a hearing before U.S. District Judge Laura Taylor Swain on Sept. 25.

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