Russian man receives longest-ever prison sentence in the US for hacking

The son of Russian parliament member Valery Seleznev was sentenced to 27 years in prison for cybercrime-related offences

A 32-year-old Russian hacker was sentenced to 27 years in prison in the U.S. for stealing millions of payment card details from businesses by infecting their point-of-sale systems with malware.

The sentence is the longest ever handed out in the U.S. for computer crimes, surpassing the 20-year jail term imposed on American hacker and former U.S. Secret Service informant Albert Gonzalez in 2010 for similar credit card theft activities.

Roman Valeryevich Seleznev, a Russian citizen from Vladivostok, was sentenced Friday in the Western District of Washington after he was found guilty in August of 10 counts of wire fraud, eight counts of intentional damage to a protected computer, nine counts of obtaining information from a protected computer, nine counts of possession of 15 or more unauthorized access devices and two counts of aggravated identity theft.

Roman Seleznev is the son of Valery Seleznev, a member the lower house of the Russian Parliament known as the Duma. Valery Seleznev accused the U.S. authorities of kidnapping his son when they detained him in 2014 in the Maldives with the help of local authorities and subsequently flew him to Guam.

Roman Seleznev was known in the cybercrime world as a prominent carder -- a trader of stolen payment card data. He used the online aliases Track2, 2pac and nCuX and sold millions of credit card details on specialized cybercriminal websites.

U.S. authorities claim that from 2009 to 2013 Seleznev infected the point-of-sale systems of more than 500 U.S. businesses with malware that captured payment card data and siphoned it off to servers under his control. The same technique was used by hackers in some of the largest data breaches that came to light in recent years, including those at U.S. retailers Target, Home Depot and Neiman Marcus.

The laptop found in the hacker's possession when he was arrested in 2014 contained 1.7 million stolen credit card numbers. Earlier this month, Seleznev sent a handwritten letter to the judge taking responsibility for his actions and asking for leniency.

In the letter, the hacker described his rough childhood and the events that led up to his life of crime. He wrote that he was raised in poverty by his single mother after his parents divorced when he was two years old.

He described himself as a respectful, polite and good child who tried to make his mother and father proud, but all that changed following the sudden death of his mother when he was 17. He was forced to drop out of college and find work at a computer club, but didn't manage to earn enough to even pay the bills for his mother's apartment.

That's when he discovered CarderPlanet, one of the first cybercriminal forums specialized in the trading of credit card data, and started using his computer skills to hack into businesses.

After the sentencing Friday, Seleznev's lawyer read a handwritten statement from the hacker that is very different in tone from his previous letter. In it, he described himself as a political prisoner, kidnapped by the U.S. government, the Associated Press reported. He also claims that the sentence is an indication that he is being used as a pawn by the U.S. government to send a message to Russian President Vladimir Putin and the world.

Join the newsletter!

Or
Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Lucian Constantin

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

James Cook University - Master of Data Science Online Course

Learn more >

Mobile

Exec

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?