FIN7’s SysAdmin Pleads Guilty For Role In Billion-Dollar Hacking Group

by Sunny Hoi

Fedir Hladyr, a 34-year-old Ukrainian, was a member of a notorious sophisticated cybercrime group called FIN7 that targeted companies in 47 states to steal more than 15 million credit card numbers.

FIN7 has been attributed to several intrusions in the banking, hospitality, and retail industries with the objective of gathering financial information of every type.

The infamous group employed phishing emails that included malware, ultimately infecting computers.

Hladyr pleaded guilty to hacking and wire fraud charges in the Western District of Washington on Wednesday. He faces up to 25 years in jail.

Hladry was arrested back in January 2018 in Dresden, Germany for being a system administrator for FIN7 under the guise of a company called Combi Security. He has copped a deal with prosecutors whereupon he would receive no more than 25 years in jail.

Hladyr had initially faced 26 counts for his involvement in FIN7 campaigns that stole more than $1 billion from 100 banks in 30 nations in a 2014 string of point-of-sale (POS) attacks that targeted businesses such as Chipotle, Wendy’s, Whole Foods, and Red Robin.

Hladyr was responsible for maintaining servers and controlling a private HipChat instant messaging chat where several FIN7 members uploaded malicious software code, breached payment card data, and screenshots from affected businesses. Moreover, Hladyr used Jira, a proprietary issue tracking product, to preserve and arrange FIN7 work whereby the members uploaded files and thousands of compromised usernames and passwords.

The cybercrime group is known for deploying advanced persistent threat-style strategies to compromise their victims and escalate their privileges prior to searching for machines or individuals with access to valuable financial data.

FIN7 preyed upon corporate networks for years using Carbanak malware, which was demonstrated to be able to take screenshots of compromised systems to seize victims’ information.

The professionals of FIN7 deploy commodity or leaked tools to hinder the capabilities of network defenders to identify intrusions linked to Fin7.

Hladyr is the first member of FIN7 to be found guilty of hacking-related charges in the United States.

His sentencing is scheduled for December 13.

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