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Notorious Israeli Pentagon hacker on ATM fraud rap

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Canadian police have cuffed a notorious Israeli hacker over allegations of financial fraud, seven years after he avoided jail after being convicted of hacking into Pentagon systems.

Ehud Tenenbaum (aka The Analyzer), 29, has been detained with three suspected accomplices over allegations they hacked into the systems of a financial service firm in order to transfer funds into pre-paid debit card accounts under their control. The group allegedly used these cards to withdraw $1.7m from ATMs in Canada and other countries prior to their arrests.

Tenenbaum is being held on remand in a Calgary prison while his three alleged accomplices - named as Priscilla Mastrangelo, 30, Jean Francois Ralph, 28, and Sypros Xenoulis, 33 - have been granted bail, The Calgary Sun reports.

In his teens, Tenenbaum broke into unclassified computers run by NASA, the Pentagon, the Israeli parliament and Hamas among others. His stock in trade was a combination of sniffer and Trojan programs together with an ability to exploit well known (but often unpatched) vulnerabilities in Solaris current at the time.

The attacks against the US systems triggered panic that US systems were under cyber-attack and were described at the time as the "most organised and systematic attack" ever thrown at US military networks. American authorities initially figured the attack was the fiendish work of Saddam Hussein, who was mounting an attack designed to frustrate the organisation of troop deployments in the Gulf, Wired notes. At the time, the allies were making sporadic missile raids into Iraq over Saddam's alleged failure to allow UN weapons inspectors to do their job.

An operation codenamed Solar Sunrise, designed to trace the source of the cyber attack, was hastily mounted; it initially led to the arrest of two teenage suspects in California, and later the arrest of Tenenbaum in Israel.

US authorities never sought Tenenbaum's extradition - a marked contrast to the case of Gary McKinnon - and the hacker known as The Analyzer was eventually sentenced to six months' community service. Following his release, Tenenbaum worked as a computer security consultant and dropped out of the news for some years before making a dramatic return to the headlines last week. ®

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