Russian arrested in Guam on U.S. hacking charges

  • Article by: NICOLE PERLROTH , New York Times
  • Updated: July 7, 2014 - 10:55 PM

A Russian man accused of being one of the world’s most prolific traffickers of stolen financial information was arrested in Guam on Saturday, according to the Secret Service.

Roman Valerevich Seleznev was arrested on charges that he hacked into cash register systems at retailers throughout the United States from 2009 to 2011. The Secret Service would not say whether he was tied to the recent attacks that affected the in-store cash register systems at Target, Neiman Marcus, Michaels and other retailers last year.

Seleznev’s arrest provides a look into the shadowy world of Russian hackers, the often-sophisticated programmers who seem to operate with impunity. As long ago as March 2011, the U.S. attorney’s office in Seattle identified Seleznev, a Russian citizen, in a sealed indictment as “Track2,” an underground alias that refers to the data that can be pulled off the magnetic strips of credit and debit cards.

That data includes enough basic information — like account numbers and expiration dates — to make fraudulent purchases.

The indictment accuses Seleznev of hacking into the cash register systems of U.S. businesses and of operating computer servers and online forums in Russia, Ukraine and elsewhere where such stolen data is traded in the digital underground.

Seleznev’s charges include bank fraud, intentionally causing damage to a protected computer, obtaining information from a protected computer, possession of 15 or more unauthorized access devices, trafficking unauthorized access devices, and aggravated identity theft.

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