19 August, 2009

Deal of the century, or the biggest screw-up of his life


Cut-up cards

I had just recently read this article on the news about how a guy managed to steal ~130,000,000 credit cards! Not physical cards of course, but their details. Enough to give him access to the bank accounts linked to these cards. Fun thing is that he was actually an agent for US Secret Service and his job was to track and hunt down hackers. He learned something, got some ideas, he probably understood that he could make more money than he could ever dream of, by doing what exactly he was supposed to prevent from being done.


Aged 28, he got these many millions of credit cards on top of the allegedly 40 mills he managed to stole previously. Or well… at least this is what the federal prosecutors are stating. As Secret Service agent, he got in touch with some hackers and it seems this is how he got into the “business”. He used to warn them before they were raided, and by doing that, he used to protect his own arse.


The trick he used to do was simple, really simple: "wardriving", which involved cruising through different areas with a laptop computer and looking for accessible wireless Internet signals. Once they located a vulnerable network, he would install a "sniffer" that captured credit and debit card numbers as it moved through a retailer's processing network.

Now, if convicted, he might face either 20 years in prison, or he could get life sentence – his lawyer did not comment that.

I am just wondering now… the guy was smart, obviously smart. Not everybody can do that, to get such big amount of cards. Yet, he got caught. He was supposed to know the techniques used to get guys like him, but they still got to him. Seems they have outsmarted him though.

Assuming the info about the 40m is correct, couldn’t he just withdraw somewhere, buy himself a private island, invest the rest in something legal and live happily ever after? Maybe it was not that simple as it sounds, but faced to 20 years in jail or even worse… life sentence, it guess it would be a considerably option.

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