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2 Russians Face Hacking Charges

SEATTLE — Two men have been indicted in what news reports described as a Russian computer hacking ring that victimized banks and other businesses through extortion and the theft of credit card numbers.

Alexei Ivanov, 20, and Vasily Gorshkov, 25, were arrested after the FBI established a bogus Internet security firm called Invita, let the men hack into it and then lured them to the United States to apply for jobs, according to a 20-count federal grand jury indictment.

Much of the case is built on reverse hacking by the Federal Bureau of Investigation to access the Russians' computers, raising issues to be argued in U.S. District Court next month.

According to documents filed by U.S. government lawyers, the pair may be linked to hundreds of crimes, including the theft of 15,700 credit card numbers from Western Union in Denver in September, by a group calling itself "The Expert Group of Protection Against Hackers."

A court hearing is set for May 17.

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