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The Great Cyberheist 57

Posted by kdawson
from the meelions-and-meelions dept.
theodp writes "In this week's cover story, the NY Times Magazine delves into the mind of Albert Gonzalez, the hacker who is currently doing time (the longest sentence ever handed down for computer crime in the US) for masterminding attacks on the nation's leading retailers, reportedly costing TJ Maxx, Heartland, and other victimized companies more than $400 million. And that may just be the tip of the iceberg. 'The majority of the stuff I hacked was never brought into public light,' said one of Gonzalez's partners-in-crime. Another claims 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 US, but statistics show a major drop in 2009 from previous years when Gonzalez was active. While reportedly not a gifted programmer, even the Feds that Gonzalez two-timed admired his ingenuity, likening him to top CEOs. When asked how Gonzalez rated among criminal hackers, a prosecutor replied: 'As a leader? Unparalleled. Unparalleled in his ability to coordinate contacts and continents and expertise. Unparalleled in that he didn't just get a hack done — he got a hack done, he got the exfiltration of the data done, he got the laundering of the funds done. He was a five-tool player.' Accounting for time served and good behavior, Gonzalez is expected to get out of prison in 2025." Last June Rolling Stone ran a long profile of Albert Gonzalez written by Sabrina Rubin Erdely; they have dusted it off now that producer Eric Eisner has embarked on the development of a feature film based on Erdely's piece.
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The Great Cyberheist

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  • by viralMeme (1461143) on Saturday November 13, 2010 @10:34AM (#34215386)
    Yet another 'journalist who thinks he's the new Tom Wolfe :)

    Biggest Cybercrime of All Time

    "Albert Gonzalez remained focused on business — checking his laptop constantly, keeping tabs on the rogue operators he employed in Turkey and Latvia and China, pushing, haranguing, issuing orders into his cellphone in a steady voice. "Let's see if this Russian asshole has what I need," he'd say calmly. Then he would help himself to glass plates of powder, each thoughtfully cut into letters for easy identification: "E" for Ecstasy, "C" for coke" link [rollingstone.com]

    "Dude," he wailed, "I can't fucking read!"

    Dude, you can't write :)
  • by hedwards (940851) on Saturday November 13, 2010 @11:02AM (#34215492)
    I'm wondering at what point a retailer ought to be responsible for the breach. It seems to me that whatever the consequences of that sort of irresponsibility is, that it's not enough. There's absolutely no reason why they need to have an internal CC database. They could just as easily hash the CC information and compare that with a stored hash.
  • idiot press (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 13, 2010 @11:28AM (#34215580)

    If he was so poorly educated and not a particularly well-skilled hacker, and it still took the FBI so long to figure out it was him and bring a conviction, what are they doing against hackers who are actually good? How are they fairing against highly intelligent, well-organized, and well-funded teams of hackers being employed by other nations to the infiltrate US government, commercial, and industrial systems. We know those bad guys exist. Where are all the arrests and front-page stories?

    Uneducated and under-resourced petty criminals like Gonzalez are the EASY fish. What is the FBI doing against the real bad guys? Unfortunately, our press is so lazy and dumb they cannot see the writing on the wall. The story of the decade and the one that will ultimately change the US forever. nope.....they're going to chase the Gonzalez story, because that's what the FBI gave them. Online fraud. A few hundred million? 1 Billion?

    All while 100s of billions of dollars in research and development across every sector of our economy walks out the door. While every facet of our government is attacked daily. Great catch guys.

  • by Black Gold Alchemist (1747136) on Saturday November 13, 2010 @03:03PM (#34216778)
    People think cybercrime is about misbegotten geniuses launch attacks using incomprehensible methods. They think cyberwar is about vast arrays of foreign hackers breaking into our high tech military systems and stealing our secrets. However, that's not what cybercrime and cyberwarfare are about. Cybercrime and cyberwarfare are about people bruteforcing some bigshot's low strength password. It's about some stupid spyware program exploiting some obvious old bug in windows and emailing your credit card to the former USSR. It's about your grandma downloading a set of "kitty" icons and infecting her computer with a botnet virus. It's about some small-time hacker calling up one secretary and getting the CEO's username, and then calling another and getting the CEO's password. These problems can't be solved by advanced security systems. They have to be solved by people. It's kind of like trying to fight cave-dwelling terrorists with a high-tech stealth bomber.

New crypt. See /usr/news/crypt.

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