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Russian Nationals Charged with Hacking NASDAQ Servers

Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and George Venizelos, the Assistant Director in Charge of the New York Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), announced last week the unsealing of an indictment against Russian hacker Aleksandr Kalinin, aka “Grig,” aka “g,” aka “tempo,” for hacking computer servers used by the NASDAQ Stock Market (NASDAQ).

In a separate indictment also unsealed today, Kalinin and another Russian hacker, Nikolay Nasenkov, were charged with an international scheme to steal bank account information by hacking U.S.-based financial institutions and then using the stolen account information to withdraw millions of dollars from the victims’ bank accounts.

Kalinin has also been charged in a separate indictment unsealed in federal court in Newark, New Jersey.

So far, alas, Kalinin and Nasenkov remain at large.

Bharara said: “As today’s allegations make clear, cyber criminals are determined to prey not only on individual bank accounts, but on the financial system itself. But would-be cyber thieves should take note: Because of the close and growing collaboration between the U.S. government and the private sector on issues of cyber security, our ability to unmask and prosecute the anonymous perpetrators of cyber crimes—wherever they may be located—has never been stronger.”

Venizelos said: “As alleged, Kalinin infiltrated NASDAQ’s servers, allowing for the manipulation and theft of sensitive data. In a series of separate schemes, Kalinin and Nasenkov stole hundreds of thousands of bank account numbers, PINs, and other code to withdraw millions of dollars from victim accounts. Today, their password has expired.”

According to the allegations in the Indictments unsealed in Manhattan federal court, from November 2008 through October 2010, Kalinin hacked various computer servers used by the NASDAQ to conduct its business operations. During the course of the hack, Kalinin installed on certain NASDAQ servers malicious software, or malware, which enabled him and others to surreptitiously access the infected NASDAQ servers and execute commands on those servers, including commands to delete, change or steal data. The infected servers did not include the trading platform that allows NASDAQ customers to buy and sell securities.

From December 2005 through November 2008, Kalinin and Nasenkov allegedly stole bank account information from financial institutions through computer hacking. Kalinin, Nasenkov, and their co-conspirators then used that account data to access the bank accounts of thousands of individual victims without authorization and without those victims’ knowledge, resulting in the theft of millions of dollars from those accounts.

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