an alarming statistic for you: Information on over 15
million credit card accounts has been stolen or compromised
by eastern European hackers.
does it happen? It can happen as easily as a person sitting
in a small room somewhere in the world...probing U.S. e-commerce
computer systems...and detecting vulnerabilities in unpatched
operating systems. That's precisely the back door they're
looking for. Once they're "in," it's just a matter
of downloading proprietary information, customer databases,
and credit card information. Sometimes they sell the credit
card information; sometimes, just to add insult to injury,
these hackers contact the victim company to announce their
intrusion and suggest a tidy payoff for them to patch the
system against other hackers.
e-commerce companies are obviously working hard to slam shut
all the back doors as they materialize, but in the meantime
the FBI is working just as hard to identify the criminals
-- no matter where they are in the world -- to stop their
operations, and to bring them to justice.
the case of twentysomethings Alexey Ivanov and Vasily Gorshkov,
both of Chelyabinsk, Russia. They were partners in crime,
acting as "project managers" for a team of hackers
in Russia who hacked across cyberspace into dozens of computers
throughout the United States, stealing usernames, passwords,
credit card information, and other financial data, then extorted
their victims with the threat to pay up...or else they'd delete
their data and destroy their computer systems.
traced them back to Chelyabinsk, then extended invitations
to them to travel to the U.S. for "job interviews"
with Invita Security, Inc. -- a brand new "company"
created especially by FBI undercover agents. Ivanov and Gorshkov
bit -- arriving in Seattle, proud to boast of their illegal
activities in an effort to impress the company recruiters.
They impressed them, all right -- right into a couple sets
of handcuffs. Gorshkov was convicted in a Washington state
federal court and sentenced to prison last year. Ivanov was
convicted in a Connecticut federal court and was sentenced
to prison just this summer.
line: Crime doesn't pay.