Three Men Charged in Biggest Email Data Breach in History

Josh WolfordTechnology

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An unsealed indictment reveals that the US Justice Department has charged three men in what it is calling "one of the largest reported data breaches in US history. It is, in fact, that biggest email data breach ever.

“These men — operating from Vietnam, the Netherlands, and Canada — are accused of carrying out the largest data breach of names and email addresses in the history of the Internet,” said Assistant Attorney General Caldwell. “The defendants allegedly made millions of dollars by stealing over a billion email addresses from email service providers. This case again demonstrates the resolve of the Department of Justice to bring accused cyber hackers from overseas to face justice in the United States.”

The indictment alleges that between February 2009 and June 2012, two Vietnamese citizens hacked at least eight email service providers. This netted them access to over a billion email addresses, from which they stole personal information. Twenty eight-year-old Viet Quoc Nguyen and 25-year-old Giang Hoang Vu allegedly made millions spamming "tens of millions" of email users.

"In August 2012, the FBI, with the assistance of its legal attaches stationed abroad and in conjunction with Dutch law enforcement officials, executed a search warrant in the Netherlands that disrupted continued compromises of those companies while allowing U.S. authorities to advance its investigation," explains the FBI's Special Agent in Charge J. Britt Johnson.

Vu has already pleaded guilty to the charges. Nguyen is on the run. The third man in this specific indictment is Canadian David-Manuel Santos Da Silva, 33, who is accused of helping Nguyen and Vu launder their ill-gotten money. He's currently sitting in jail awaiting trial.

“This case reflects the cutting-edge problems posed by today’s cybercrime cases, where the hackers didn’t target just a single company; they infiltrated most of the country’s email distribution firms,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Horn. “And 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."

“Our success in this case and other similar investigations is a result of our close work with our law enforcement partners,” said Special Agent in Charge Moore. “The Secret Service worked closely with the Department of Justice and the FBI to share information and resources that ultimately brought these cyber criminals to justice. This case demonstrates there is no such thing as anonymity for those engaging in data theft and fraudulent schemes.”

Speaking of cyber crime, The US Government just created a brand new agency for organizing and disseminating information regarding cyber threats.

Image via Thinkstock

Josh Wolford
Josh Wolford is a writer for WebProNews. He likes beer, Japanese food, and movies that make him feel weird afterward. Mostly beer. Follow him on Twitter: @joshgwolf Instagram: @joshgwolf Google+: Joshua Wolford StumbleUpon: joshgwolf