A United States federal district court has finally sentenced a Russian hacker to nine years in federal prison after he pleaded guilty of running two illegal websites devoted to facilitating payment card fraud, computer hacking, and other crimes.
Aleksei Yurievich Burkov, 30, pleaded guilty in January this year to two of the five charges against him for credit card fraud—one count of access device fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit access device fraud, identity theft, computer intrusions, wire fraud, and money laundering.
Burkov admitted to operating a website named Cardplanet that was dedicated to buying and selling stolen credit card and debit card data for anywhere between $2.50 and $10 per payment card, depending on the card type, origin, and availability of card owner information.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Cardplanet hosted roughly 150,000 payment card details between 2009 and 2013, most of which belonged to U.S. citizens and used to make over $20 million in fraudulent purchases.
Zoom, the video-chat app that leapt to fame during the coronavirus outbreak, briefly blocked the account of a Chinese human-rights leader who used the platform to organize a commemoration of the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown between activists in the United States and China.
The nine-year-old San Jose, Calif., company restored the activist’s account on Wednesday. But the suspension put Zoom in a difficult place between the principles of free speech and the power of China’s huge censorship machine, which has increasingly sought ways to squelch discourse beyond the country’s borders.
In a statement on Wednesday, Zoom said it had been following local laws when it suspended the account of Zhou Fengsuo, a former leader of the students who participated in pro-democracy demonstrations in Beijing 31 years ago. Mr. Zhou now lives in the United States.
Suspensions similar to Mr. Zhou’s appeared to affect the accounts of a Hong Kong politician, Lee Cheuk Yan, and Wang Dan, a student leader during the Tiananmen protests.