Monday, August 4, 2008

US DOJ Announces Largest Network Hacking, War-Driving Case

The U.S. Department of Justice has charged eleven suspects in the hacking of nine major U.S. retailers and the theft and sale of more than 40 million credit and debit card numbers. The suspects are charged with numerous crimes, including conspiracy, computer intrusion, fraud and identity theft.


Three of the defendants are U.S. citizens, one is from Estonia, three are from Ukraine, two are from the People's Republic of China and one is from Belarus. One individual is only known by an alias online, and his place of origin is unknown.


The indictment alleges that during the course of the sophisticated conspiracy, the suspects obtained the credit and debit card numbers by "wardriving" and hacking into the wireless computer networks of major retailers -- including TJX Companies, BJ's Wholesale Club, OfficeMax, Boston Market, Barnes & Noble, Sports Authority, Forever 21 and DSW. Once inside the networks, they installed "sniffer" programs that would capture card numbers, as well as password and account information, as they moved through the retailers' credit and debit processing networks.


The indictment alleges that after they collected the data, the conspirators concealed the data in encrypted computer servers that they controlled in Eastern Europe and the United States. They allegedly sold some of the credit and debit card numbers, via the Internet, to other criminals in the United States and Eastern Europe. The stolen numbers were "cashed out" by encoding card numbers on the magnetic strips of blank cards. The defendants then used these cards to withdraw tens of thousands of dollars at a time from ATMs. Gonzalez and others were allegedly able to conceal and launder their fraud proceeds by using anonymous Internet-based currencies both within the United States and abroad, and by channeling funds through bank accounts in Eastern Europe.http://www.usdoj.gov

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