The US Department of Justice has charged three men with hacking into US email service providers in what it calls “one of the largest reported data breaches in US history.”
Assistant Attorney General Caldwell said in a statement, “the defendants allegedly made millions of dollars by stealing over a billion email addresses from email service providers.”
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Acting U.S. Attorney Horn said in the same statement, “the scope of the intrusion is unnerving, in that the hackers didn’t stop after stealing the companies’ proprietary data—they then hijacked the companies’ own distribution platforms to send out bulk emails and reaped the profits from email traffic directed to specific websites.”
One of the defendants has already plead guilty to the charges. Two of the defendants are Vietnamese citizens who resided in the Netherlands. An indictment was returned earlier this week against the third defendant, a Canadian citizen that allegedly conspired to launder the funds made as result of the data breach.
Between February 2009 and June 2012, Viet Quoc Nguyen allegedly hacked at least eight email service providers in the United States and obtained marketing data that contained over one billion email address. Then with the help of Giang Hoang Vu, they allegedly spammed tens of millions of email addresses.
Canadian David-Manuel Santos Da Silva was indicted for allegedly helping the two purported hackers launder the money gained by the wide-scale spamming by making Nguyen an affiliate marketer in his company Marketbay.com.
Between May 2009 and October 2011, Nguyen and Da Silva made approximately $2 million on the sale of items from Nguyen’s “marketing.”