In what is being called the “largest hacking and identity theft case” ever, eleven men have been indicted for allegedly stealing the numbers of more than 40 million U.S. credit cards and debit cards. Let me repeat that: 40 million. The entire population of the United States is only 301 million! That means that for every seven to eight people you see, the odds are good that one of them had their credit card number stolen, and their account drained.
So how did they accomplish this massive theft?
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Members of the group drove around looking for open wifi servers into which they could hack – servers belonging to big retail companies – I mean really big retail companies, like Barnes & Nobles, Boston Market, OfficeMax, Sports Authority, JX Companies, BJ’s Wholesale Club, Forever 21 and DSW. This virtually assured them a big payoff – big retail companies have big numbers of credit card transactions.
Authorities are calling this the biggest cooperative investigation if its kind. The investigation involved the Justice Department; U.S. attorneys’ offices in three districts: the District of Massachusetts, the Southern District of California and the Eastern District of New York; the Internal Revenue Service and the Secret Service.
It’s also the biggest credit card and identity theft ring of its kind. Again, with 44 million compromised credit card numbers, one in seven or eight are likely to have a credit card number that was compromised.
Which means, it’s time to go look at your bank statements.
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