ATLANTA (AP) — Federal authorities say hackers stole an estimated 1 billion email addresses from marketing companies and used them to send recipients spam.
John Horn, acting U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Georgia, announced the case Friday as "one of the largest reported data breaches in United States history." He said three people indicted in the case netted $2 million in commissions from sales of software and other products bought by recipients of the spam messages.
That would mean the defendants averaged a fraction of a penny per email address.
One defendant, Giang Hoang Vu, pleaded guilty last month to conspiracy to commit computer fraud. Related charges are pending against Viet Quoc Nguyen of Vietnam and David-Manuel Santos Da Silva of Montreal, Canada. Neither had defense attorneys listed in court records.