By Kelley Chittenden
Vladimir Drinkman and Dmitriy Smilianets pleaded guilty this week to involvement in the largest computer hacking conspiracy ever prosecuted in the United States. The men infiltrated sixteen companies’ networks including NASDAQ, 7-Eleven Inc., France’s Carrefour S.A., J.C. Penney Company Inc., JetBlue Airways, a Visa Inc. licensee, and Heartland Payment Systems, Inc., compromising over 160 million credit card numbers and racking up more than 300 million dollars in losses over nearly seven years. Drinkman had been in U.S. custody since his extradition to the United States after a June 2012 arrest in the Netherlands. Three other men involved in the hacking of security networks and mining of personal data, Aleksandr Kalinin, Roman Kotov, and Mikhail Rytikov, still remain at large.