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Turkish hacker Ercan Findikoglu pleads guilty to global ATM fraud

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March 3, 2016

The cyber criminal behind a huge attack on the American banking sector that caused $55 million in financial damages has pleaded guilty. He now faces more than fifty-seven long years in prison.

Aged 34, Findikoglu admitted his role in an international syndicate including charges of computer intrusion conspiracy, bank fraud, and making fraudulent transactions using unauthorized devices.

The cyber criminal with a long list of mischiefs spanning at least 4 years ducked Turkish police until he was arrested in December 2013 in Frankfurt, Germany.

He then fought his extradition until late 2015, pleading not guilty in June. Findikoglu would have faced up to an incredible 247-and-a-half years in prison if found guilty during the extradition process.

Starting in 2010, he used the aliases "Segate", "Oreon" and "Predator" to target JP Morgan Chase, MasterCard, and the American Red Cross as part of a fraud ring which siphoned off tens of millions of dollars from ATMs in more than 23 countries.

The group's biggest heist happened in February 2013 where the group stole US $40 million through an eye-popping 36,000 ATM transactions across 24 countries.

To say that the group was well organized would be an understatement. The numerous cash withdrawals happened in a matter of just a few hours.

The cyber criminals stole customer data and used hacked credentials to change account-holders' daily withdrawal limits, then cashed out at ATMs.

In one attack in late February 2011, the attackers withdrew some $10 million in an epic 15,000-strong ATM withdrawal spree across eighteen countries.

Then in December 2012, the criminals pulled some US $5 million through 4500 ATM transactions in 20 countries.

"The bad men participated in a massive 21st century bank heist that reached across the internet and stretched around the globe," United States Attorney Loretta Lynch said at the time of his arrest.

"Substituting for guns, knives and masks, the well-organized cybercrime gang used laptops and the internet," she added. "Moving as swiftly as data over the web, the organization worked its way from the computer systems of international corporations to the streets of New York City, with the defendants fanning out across Manhattan to steal millions of dollars from hundreds of ATMs in a matter of just a few hours."

Source: The U.S. Justice Dept.

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