Andrei Tyurin, believed to be the biggest financial hacker of all time is now in custody in the United States.
Tyurin, a Russian citizen, was extradited to New York on Friday. He is suspected of cyber-crimes in the hacking of JP Morgan Chase & Co. and more than ten other companies. Tyarin is understood to be part of a syndicate that has been targeting financial firms that fed an array of activities including securities fraud, money laundering, credit-card fraud and fake pharmaceuticals.
JP Morgan Chase & Co. opened a South African office in 2015 and provide investment banking, treasury and merchant services and markets and investor services to a wide range of clients including governments.
New York federal Authorities indicated that in 2015 other companies like Fidelity Investments, Dow Jones & Co., E*Trade Financial Corp. and Scottrade Financial Services Inc. together with JP Morgan Chase & Co were targeted by the cyber syndicate and had at the time compromised the information of 80 million clients.
Tyurin appeared in Manhattan federal court on Friday afternoon pleading not guilty to charges of conspiracy, computer hacking, identity theft and wire fraud. His lawyer, Florian Miedel, declined to comment according to news agency Bloomberg.
Tyurin’s partners in crime are already spilling the beans and are cooperating with authorities, The authorities believe that Tyurin’s “deep web of contacts in the criminal underground could make him useful in a wide range of investigations, including the hacking of the 2016 presidential election.”
In the JPMorgan matter, American spy agencies suspected there had been attempts by Russian intelligence to recruit Tyurin and had provided evidence of those attempts to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, according to person with knowledge of the probe. “The hacker also appeared to do an extensive reconnaissance of bank systems and undertook other activity not strictly related to Shalon’s stock scheme” a prosecutor said.
The U.S authorities suspect that the mastermind behind the cyber-crime syndicate is Gery Shalon, an Israeli who the U.S. accuses of masterminding the scheme. Over a period of 3 years from 2012 Tyurin apparently stole personal information of more than 100 million of the firms’ clients by “infiltrating corporate computer networks, locating customer databases and exporting profile information to computers overseas” a source close to the investigation told an online news agency.
The information from the hacks was used in stock manipulation, Internet gambling, credit-card fraud and bitcoin money laundering, prosecutors say, allegedly generating hundreds of millions of dollars in illicit proceeds. Shalon was arrested in Israel in 2015 and delivered to the U.S. in 2016.Some of the co-accused of in the cyber syndicate have either pleaded guilty or have been convicted. After two years in custody the U.S. prosecutors have not brought Shalon to trial in the matter, gesturing that he may be cooperating with U.S. authorities.
South African clients of the financial companies involved, including pension funds and other institutional investors are still in the dark regarding the accessing of their financial and private information after the latest arrest.