By Kim Zetter
March 24, 2009
Ehud Tenenbaum, an Israeli hacker arrested in Canada last year for
allegedly stealing about $1.5 million from Canadian banks, also
allegedly hacked two U.S. banks, a credit and debit card distribution
company and a payment processor in what U.S. authorities are calling a
global "cashout" conspiracy.
The U.S. hacks have resulted in at least $10 million in losses,
according to court records obtained by Threat Level, and are just part
of a larger international conspiracy to hack financial institutions in
the United States and abroad.
The broadened case highlights the continued vulnerability of U.S.
financial networks to cybercrime, despite supposedly tight industry
security standards. It comes on the heels of other multimillion-dollar
heists that also breached the security protecting ATM codes and account
information. In late 2007, criminals used four hacked iWire payroll
cards to steal $5 million from ATMs around the world in just two days.
Shortly thereafter, a processing server that handles withdrawals from
Citibank-branded ATMs at 7-Eleven convenience stores was cracked,
leading crooks to converge on New York to withdraw at least $2 million
from Citibank accounts using the stolen ATM data. And a carefully
coordinated global heist last November resulted in a one-day haul of $9
million in cash, following a breach at payment processor RBS WorldPay.
Tenenbaum, 29, made headlines a decade ago under his hacker handle "The
Analyzer" for penetrating Pentagon computers and other networks. He'd
been living in France, and had only been in Canada about five months on
a six-month visitor's permit when he was arrested last August in Calgary
with three alleged accomplices for allegedly hacking into Direct Cash
Management, a Calgary company that distributes prepaid debit and credit
cards. A Canadian court granted him CDN $30,000 bail, but before he
could be released from jail, U.S. authorities swooped in with a
provisional warrant to retain him in custody while they pursued an
indictment and extradition.
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