Criminal hacker who stole $9 million walks free

A criminal hacker who helped steal a staggering $9 million from ATM machines around the world will not be spending a single day in the slammer.

Instead, Russian prosecutors served 29-year-old Viktor Pleshchuk with a six-year suspended sentenced in exchange for hard information about other hackers who breached RBS WorldPay computer systems.

Pleschuk – who will be saddled with a four-year probationary sentence – has also been ordered to pay back more than 275 million rubles (£5.8 million) to the bank.

According to Sophos researcher Graham Cluley, the criminal gang reportedly counterfeited cloned debit cards with stolen data, cracked the encryption security used to protect RBS WorldPay PIN numbers, and raised the level of funds available on compromised accounts.

This allowed the cyber bandits to steal over $9 million from more than 2,100 ATMs in at least 280 cities worldwide – in a daring raid that lasted less than 12 hours.

It should be noted that Pleshchuk and seven other defendants also face separate charges in the United States, where they were indicted last year.

However, the United States currently lacks an extradition treaty with Russia, so Pleshchuk will untouchable by American prosecutors unless he leaves the country.