Ukrainian jet setter in world's largest cyber heist?

Ukrainian jet setter in world's largest cyber heist?
Ukrainian jet setter in world's largest cyber heist?

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By Dan Goodin in San Francisco
22nd August 2007

US authorities have taken a keen interest in a recently-arrested 
Ukrainian man after discovering he had ties to the criminal hackers 
behind the colossal data breach at US retail giant TJX. Responsible for 
more than 45.6m stolen accounts, the infiltration has understandably 
landed on the top of investigators' to-do list.

Their new-found interest is in Maksym Yastremskiy, who was arrested 
several weeks ago for selling stolen credit card numbers in online 
forums. It turns out a "significant number" of them belonged to 
customers whose credentials were siphoned out of TJX's rather porous 

"It's a significant point in the investigation," said Doug Bem, a public 
information officer for the US Postal Inspection Service, one of a 
handful of federal agencies probing the TJX breach. "We don't have any 
information that suggests this person was the one who committed the 
attack on TJX, but at some point he did come into possession of the 
(stolen TJX) card accounts."

Bem wouldn't say how many of the stolen credit card numbers in 
Yastremskiy's possession belonged to TJX customers, but he said there 
were "a significant number of accounts that could be traced back to the 
TJX database."

In all, authorities believe Yastremskiy had "hundreds of thousands, 
perhaps up to a million" stolen accounts in his possession, which were 
made available to individuals frequenting the bulletin boards, Bem said.

TJX bears the dubious distinction of being a sucker to the largest 
credit card heist ever. Over a 17-month period, unknown thieves 
infiltrated the Massachusetts-based company's network, where they 
brazenly left encrypted messages for each other and may also have lifted 
card information in real-time as it was being processed over the 

A wireless network that employed less protection than many people use on 
their home systems appears to be the weak link that led to the breach, 
the Wall Street Journal reported in May. Pretty remarkable for a company 
with a market value of about $13bn.

Last week TJX said it expects to rack up costs totaling about $256m 
arising from the debacle. A Forrester analyst has predicted the damage 
could ultimately be as high as $1bn.

So far, there have been painfully few reported arrests related to the 
TJX heist. In one case, police in Florida charged a single gang with 
using hacked TJX card data to steal $8m in transactions at Wal-Mart 
Stores and other outlets.

So you may understand why US law enforcement agents are suddenly eager 
to learn as much as they can about Yastremskiy, who according to the 
Boston Globe, was arrested some 5,400 miles away at a nightclub in the 
Turkish resort of Kemer.

The US Postal Inspection Service is involved because of its mandate to 
protect US Mail customers, while the US Secret Service and the US 
Justice Department have jurisdiction for other reasons.

"It's yet to be determined who is going to be taking the lead," Bem 
said. "We're confident that other individuals may be brought to light as 
the investigation continues." =C2=AE

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