Saturday, November 13, 2010

What a hack . . .

THE NYT MAGAZINE has an article by James Verini, "The Great Cyberheist", which is worthy of your attention. It's an account of the exploits of cyberhacker Albert Gonzalez. This guy was a genius for criminal organization, quietly creating "SQL injections" of major credit card processing companies — while he was part of a US government cybercrime task force busting black hats he used to work with.

According to Attorney General Eric Holder, who last month presented an award to Peretti and the prosecutors and Secret Service agents who brought Gonzalez down, Gonzalez cost TJX, Heartland and the other victimized companies more than $400 million in reimbursements and forensic and legal fees. At last count, at least 500 banks were affected by the Heartland breach. But the extent of the damage is unknown. “The majority of the stuff I hacked was never brought into public light,” Toey told me. One of the imprisoned hackers told me there “were major chains and big hacks that would dwarf TJX. I’m just waiting for them to indict us for the rest of them.” Online fraud is still rampant in the United States, but statistics show a major drop in 2009 from previous years, when Gonzalez was active.

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