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Ukrainian hacker busted after making $30 million stealing press releases

The hacker pleads guilty to stealing unpublished news and corporate earnings to help a criminal network make millions on the stock market.

Ry Crist Senior Editor / Reviews - Labs
Originally hailing from Troy, Ohio, Ry Crist is a writer, a text-based adventure connoisseur, a lover of terrible movies and an enthusiastic yet mediocre cook. A CNET editor since 2013, Ry's beats include smart home tech, lighting, appliances, broadband and home networking.
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How much money can you make stealing press releases that haven't gone out yet? As much as $30 million, it turns out -- especially if those releases include corporate earnings and you're keen on gaming the stock market.

That's exactly what 28-year-old Ukrainian hacker Vadym Iermolovych pleaded guilty to in a Newark, New Jersey, federal court on Monday. Specifically, Iermolovych admitted to working with two other Ukrainian hackers from 2010 to 2014 to steal 150,000 press releases from services like PR Newswire, Business Wire and Marketwired. Iermolovych made tens of thousands of dollars by selling the releases online and many millions more by making trading decisions based on the non-yet-public information contained within.

PR Newswire did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Iermolovych was charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, conspiracy to commit fraud in connection with computers, and aggravated identity theft, and faces up to 20 years in prison. His two accomplices remain at large.