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Russian script wrinkly on hacking charges

Tales of lumberjacks and hijacked credit card details

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A Russian pensioner has been arrested after allegedly masterminding a scam geared to lifting the credit card number of Western tourists visiting Moscow cyber cafes.

According to a report by the Moscow Times, the unnamed 63 year-old was a programmer who turned to Internet crime after becoming disaffected about his meagre state pension and royalties from the software he developed.

Investigators believe the pensioner, who used to work for Moscow Institute, headed a gang that managed to steal around 300 credit card numbers from insecure Web sites. It's alleged these details were subsequently used to buy useless information - about the location of Russian timber plantations - from an online firm the gang had created.

As well as the pensioner four other people have been arrested. They now face charges that carry a penalty of between three to 10 years in the gulag.

It's not clear how police became aware about the fraud and at a press conference Moscow's boys in blue would only say they cooperated with the Russian company Cyberplat, which processes credit card transactions.

Dmitry Chepchugov, chief of the Moscow city police department in charge of computer-related crime, told a news conference that "this case dispels the myth that hackers are 14- and 15-year-old geniuses".

"These were professionals without any romantic ideas who wanted to make money," he added.

Despite these comments Chepchugov seemed to have a degree of sympathy for the script wrinkly who headed the gang.

"One can understand him, considering the realities of life today," he told the Moscow Times. ®

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Police Arrest Pensioner for Running Hacker Gang

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