Turkish hacker behind cyber heists gets 8 years in U.S. prison

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By Nate Raymond | NEW YORK

NEW YORK A Turkish hacker was sentenced to eight
years in a U.S. prison on Friday for his role as one the
masterminds behind three cyber attacks that enabled $55 million
to be siphoned from automated teller machines globally.

Ercan Findikoglu, who went by the online nicknames “Segate,” “Predator,” and “Oreon,” was sentenced by U.S. District Judge
Kiyo Matsumoto in Brooklyn after pleading guilty in March to
computer intrusion conspiracy and other charges.

Findikoglu, 35, is expected to get credit for the time he
spent in custody since his arrest in Germany in 2013. Findikoglu
apologized for the damage he had caused and wiped away tears as
he said he had not seen his wife and son since his arrest.

“I could have used my skills for good,” he said. “Instead I
wasted them.”

Prosecutors said Findikoglu was a leader in a series of
cyber heists, which allowed for the simultaneous withdrawal of
millions of dollars after hackers infiltrated credit and debit
card processing companies.

In what were called “unlimited operations,” hackers targeted
databases those companies maintained for prepaid debit cards and
effectively eliminated the card accounts’ withdrawal limits,
prosecutors said.

The processing companies included Fidelity National
Information Services Inc, ElectraCard Services, now
owned by MasterCard Inc, and enStage.

Findikoglu and others then distributed the data to teams of “cashers” worldwide who encoded the data onto magnetic stripe
cards to conduct thousands of fraudulent ATM withdrawals,
prosecutors said.

The biggest heist, in which $40 million was withdrawn,
targeted cards issued by Bank Muscat in Oman and involved
thieves in 24 countries in 2013 executing 36,000 transactions,
prosecutors said.

They said two other heists in 2011 and 2012 resulted in $15
million in losses and targeted cards issued by JPMorgan Chase &
Co and National Bank of Ras Al-Khaimah in the United
Arab Emirates.

Thirteen members of a New York cashing crew that prosecutors
say withdrew $2.8 million in two operations have pleaded guilty.

In court papers, defense lawyer Christopher Madiou said
Findikoglu’s crimes occurred while he was facing Turkish charges
that he conspired to produce fake debit and credit cards.

In that case, Findikoglu was convicted in 2012 and sentenced
to 19-1/2 years in prison. While out on bail, he was arrested in
2013 in Germany, which extradited him in 2015.

After completing his U.S. sentence, Findikoglu will be
deported and is expected to serve that Turkish sentence, Madiou
said.



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