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Hacker Gets Six-Year Suspended Sentence, Multimillion-Dollar Fine for ATM Scam

A hacker has received a six-year suspended sentence Wednesday after pleading guilty to participating in a worldwide scam to steal$9 million from automated teller machines.

Viktor Pleshchuk received a reduced sentence, which includes four years of probation, prosecutors said. He agreed to provide information about other hackers who cracked a computer system at RBS WorldPay, the U.S. payment-processing division of Royal Bank of Scotland Group, and cloning ATM cards, said his lawyer Yury Novolodsky. Pleshchuk also has to pay more than $8.9 million to WorldPay.

“This is not a regular crime but a cyber crime, and Pleshchuk didn’t really have a full understanding of the damage he was causing,” Novolodsky said in an interview. “He pleaded guilty and is fully collaborating with authorities.”

The U.S. Justice Department last year indicted Pleshchuk and seven other hackers in Russia and in Eastern Europe, saying the group used sophisticated hacking techniques to compromise the data encryption used by RBS WorldPay to protect customer data on payroll debit cards.

The cards were used to withdraw the money from 2,100 ATMs in 280 cities worldwide in less than 12 hours, in what U.S. prosecutors called “perhaps the most sophisticated and organized computer-fraud attack ever conducted,” according to a statement on the DOJ website.

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