Biggest-ever ID fraud ring cracked

The announcement of the Government’s new specialist e-crime unit could not be more timely following the recent case in which US authorities cracked what is being described as the biggest identity fraud ring in history, involving the theft of up to 100 million credit and debit card details.

Oct 9, 2008
By Paul Jacques

The announcement of the Government’s new specialist e-crime unit could not be more timely following the recent case in which US authorities cracked what is being described as the biggest identity fraud ring in history, involving the theft of up to 100 million credit and debit card details.

Eleven people were charged with stealing and selling the details of credit and debit cards used in retail and restaurant chains over the last five years.

They are accused of hacking retailers’ unprotected wireless Internet connections before stealing information about millions of customers.

The US Department of Justice said that the ring was an “international conspiracy” that stretched from the US to East Asia, via Eastern Europe. Those charged include people from Belarus, China, Estonia, Ukraine and the US.

The hackers are accused of “wardriving” – driving around in search of unprotected Wi-Fi connections.

They allegedly installed “sniffer” software onto the shops’ computer systems which captured customers’ card details, passwords and other personal information. The stolen data was then concealed in computer servers in the US and Eastern Europe before being sold to other criminals over the Internet.

One of the retailers believed to have been targeted was TJX, the parent company of the UK retail chain TK Maxx which in January 2007 is said to have suffered a security breach involving the card details of millions of customers.

lCombating e-crime – p26

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