[UPDATE] 3 men charged in U.S. for hacking 8 email providers, stealing 1b email addresses

Three men have been charged in the United States for carrying out the largest data breach of names and email addresses in the history of the Internet, the Justice Department said on Friday. One of them has already pleaded guilty.

The indictments were unsealed on Friday after a lengthy investigation.

U.S. prosecutors allege that the men - operating from Vietnam, the Netherlands, and Canada - hacked into at least eight email service providers in the United States and stole confidential information, including proprietary marketing data containing over one billion email addresses. They used that data to send spam to tens of millions of people.

In August 2012, the FBI, with the assistance of its legal attaches stationed abroad and in conjunction with Dutch law enforcement officials, executed a search warrant in the Netherlands that disrupted continued compromises of those companies while allowing U.S. authorities to advance its investigation. That investigation targeted not only the hackers but the businesses that helped monetize the data that was stolen from those victim companies.

David-Manuel Santos Da Silva, 33, of Montreal, Canada, was arrested at Ft. Lauderdale International Airport in Florida on February 12. Giang Hoang Vu, 25, was arrested in Deventer, the Netherlands, in 2012 and was extradited to the U.S. in March 2014, after which he pleaded guilty on February 5 to commit computer fraud. Viet Quoc Nguyen, 28, remains a fugitive.

Silva was also indicted by a federal grand jury on March 4, 2015, for conspiracy to commit money laundering for helping Nguyen and Vu to generate revenue from spam and launder the proceeds.

“The federal indictments, apprehensions and extraditions in this case represents several years of hard work as the FBI and its cadre of cyber trained agents and technical experts acted quickly to stop the ongoing damage to the numerous victim companies as a result of these individuals’ hacking activities,” said Special Agent in Charge J. Britt Johnson of the FBI’s Atlanta Field Office.

Da Silva will be arraigned in Atlanta on Friday before Magistrate Judge E. Clayton Scofield III. Vu is scheduled to be sentenced on April 21 before U.S. District Judge Timothy C. Batten Sr. of the Northern District of Georgia

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