Vietnamese computer hacker gets 13 years for selling data of 200 million Americans

A computer hacker who peddled the stolen personal data of 200 million U.S. citizens to other cybercriminals from his Vietnamese home was sentenced Tuesday to 13 years in prison.

Hieu Minh Ngo pleaded guilty to a string of federal charges including wire, identity and computer fraud, reports NBC News.

The 25-year-old ran a sophisticated international identity theft scheme, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

He sold the names, birth dates, Social Security numbers and bank account details of millions of Americans to other cybercriminals via shady online marketplaces.

The scam, which he operated for six years from 2007 to 2013, generated about $2 million, authorities said. He was arrested when he entered the U.S. in February 2013.

“Specifically, Ngo admitted he offered access to PII (personally identifiable information) for 200 million U.S. citizens, and that more than 1,300 customers from around the world conducted more than three million ‘queries’ through the third-party databases maintained on his websites,” the Justice Department said in a press release.

Ngo was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Paul J. Barbadoro in New Hampshire.

“Criminals buy and sell stolen identity information because they see it as a low-risk, high-reward proposition,” said Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell. “Identifying and prosecuting cybercriminals like Ngo is one of the ways we’re working to change that cost-benefit analysis.”

Source: Daily News

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