Feds say new hacking case is biggest ever, with over 160M card numbers stolen from 12 companies

Federal prosecutors have unveiled what they are calling the largest computer hacking and data breach conspiracy scheme ever criminally prosecuted, in which computer systems for a dozen companies were breached.

Operated from 2005 to 2012, the scheme allegedly resulted in the theft of more than160 million credit and debit card numbers from payment processors, retailers and financial institutions including J.C. Penney Co. and Nasdaq OMX Group Inc., the Wall Street Journal (sub. req.) reports. Losses totaled in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

Five men from Russia and the Ukraine face charges in federal court in New Jersey that were made public Thursday, and two have been arrested. The other three are fugitives. They are accused of selling credit and debit card numbers which were then used throughout the world for ATM cash withdrawals and purchases.

The Associated Press, Bloomberg and CNNMoney also have stories.

A press release from the U.S. Attorney for New Jersey provides additional details.

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