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Brazilian hackers blamed for aiding Amazon deforestation

Computer cracking carbon footprint

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Malicious hackers have been charged with all manner of misdeeds, from mounting the biggest military hack ever to sending Viagra to Bill Gates to crashing sewerage systems. On Friday, Greenpeace accused cybercrooks of conspiring to allow actions that threaten the balance of nature by helping to destroy the Amazon rainforest.

Some Brazilian states used a computerised allocation system to levy how much timber can be logged in each area. However, logging firms attempted to subvert these controls by hiring hackers to break systems and increase the companies' allocations.

Greenpeace reckons these types of computer swindles were responsible for the excess export of 1.7 million cubic metres of timber (or enough for 780 Olympic-sized swimming pools, as the group helpfully points out) before police broke up the scam last year. Brazilian authorities are suing logging firms for 2 billion reais (US$833m).

Federal authorities are due to release more details of the prosecution of 107 logging and charcoal firms later on Friday, Greenpeace reports. A total of 202 people are facing prosecution in the case, it adds. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

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