Feeds

Feds accuse bank insider of massive data heist

Thumb drive skirts subprime security

Build a business case: developing custom apps

A financial analyst for Countrywide Home Financial, one of the world's biggest and most troubled mortgage lenders, has been arrested and charged with stealing personal information concerning a breathtaking number of the company's customers.

Rene Rebollo, 36, of Pasadena, California, downloaded 20,000 customer profiles including names and social security numbers just about every week for about two years, according to documents filed in federal court in Los Angeles. He would then sell the purloined information for about $500 per 20,000 profiles to various buyers. He netted as much as $70,000 through the scheme, prosecutors alleged.

Although Countrywide had technology in place to disable flash drives on employee computers, Rebollo was able to circumvent the safeguard by making use of a PC that didn't have it installed. Countrywide is one of the biggest providers of subprime mortgages, which offered people with bad credit housing loans. In many cases, the loans came with low introductory interest rates that would eventually reset to much higher rates. Attorneys general from Illinois and California have sued the lender for practices that were allegedly unfair and deceptive.

Earlier this year, Countrywide was acquired by Bank of America. Subprime loans are one of the key causes of the current mortgage debacle rocking the US economy.

Rebollo was able to obtain specific types of Countrywide customer data thanks to his access to many of the company's different databases. He typically accessed the information on Sunday evenings from his workplace. He downloaded the information onto thumb drives. He would then physically sell the drive to people claiming to be data thieves or would email the data, usually in Excel spreadsheets, from a computer at a Kinko's shop.

He has been charged with exceeding authorized access to the computer of a financial institution and faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison. He was arrested Friday and released on an $85,000 bond. Rebollo's attorney didn't return a message seeking comment for this story.

A second person, 25-year-old Wahid Siddiqi of Thousand Oaks, California, was also arrested in the case and accused of purchasing some of the Countrywide data. Siddiqi is charged with fraud and faces 15 years. Siddiqi is scheduled to appear in court on Monday afternoon, California time. ®

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think

More from The Register

next story
14 antivirus apps found to have security problems
Vendors just don't care, says researcher, after finding basic boo-boos in security software
Microsoft's Euro cloud darkens: US FEDS can dig into foreign servers
They're not emails, they're business records, says court
'Things' on the Internet-of-things have 25 vulnerabilities apiece
Leaking sprinklers, overheated thermostats and picked locks all online
iWallet: No BONKING PLEASE, we're Apple
BLE-ding iPhones, not NFC bonkers, will drive trend - marketeers
Multipath TCP speeds up the internet so much that security breaks
Black Hat research says proposed protocol will bork network probes, flummox firewalls
Only '3% of web servers in top corps' fully fixed after Heartbleed snafu
Just slapping a patched OpenSSL on a machine ain't going to cut it, we're told
Plug and PREY: Hackers reprogram USB drives to silently infect PCs
BadUSB instructs gadget chips to inject key-presses, redirect net traffic and more
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
prev story

Whitepapers

7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
A new approach to endpoint data protection
What is the best way to ensure comprehensive visibility, management, and control of information on both company-owned and employee-owned devices?