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Over 100 Million People Were Affected In Largest US Data Breach Ever

Four men were indicted for their parts in what is being called the biggest data breach in US history.

The hackers obtained access to customer data of at least nine financial and publishing companies including JPMorgan Chase, The Wall Street Journal, Scottrade, Dow Jones, E-Trade, Fidelity Investments and one other unnamed newspaper, Bloomberg reports.

Personal information belonging to over 100 million people was allegedly compromised from 2012 to 2015.

The hackers are additionally accused of manipulating dozens of stocks and operating illegal gambling websites, as well as a digital currency exchange.

Using pump-and-dump stock schemes (the same strategy popularized by "The Wolf of Wall Street," Jordan Belfort), the hackers sent fallacious pitches through stolen email addresses and set up trading accounts with fake names to rake in profits.

According to Huffington Post, US attorney Preet Bharara said in the indictment, Swiss bank accounts and other accounts around the world were used to conceal at least $100 million then laundered through dozens of fake companies.

Other crimes included falsifying passports, processing payments of fake software and taking over an entire New Jersey credit union.

The hackers were named as Gery Shalon, Joshua Aaron and Ziv Orenstein, and they were aided by Anthony Murgio.

Orenstein and Shalon were arrested in Israel in July, while Aaron is believed to be hiding somewhere in Eastern Europe.

Murgio was arrested in Florida in July under a separate indictment relating to the credit union and a bitcoin currency exchange.

In the indictment, Sharon is quoted as saying,

We buy [stocks] very cheap, perform machinations, then play with them.

The group was initially able to avoid detection by hacking the email accounts of a security company monitoring them.

The members' crimes are said to have utilized hundreds of employees and corrupt coconspirators who worked for banks.

Whether or not any of those bankers were arrested or charged is not clear.

Citations: JPMorgan's 2014 Hack Tied to Largest Cyber Breach Ever (Bloomberg), Three Charged In JPMorgan Hack, Largest Bank Breach Ever (Huffington Post), Biggest-ever U.S. data breach hits 100 million people with bank accounts (Mashable)