Feeds

Feds cuff coder accused of US bank source code swipe

Alleged thief 'nicked $9.5m software to train his students'

Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL

A computer programmer has been charged with stealing source code worth $9.5m from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, according to the FBI and prosecutors.

Bo Zhang, a 32-year-old from Queens in New York, was cuffed on suspicion of swiping the Government-wide Accounting and Reporting (GWA) software, used to help keep track of the US government's finances.

"Among other things, the GWA handles ledger accounting for each appropriation, fund, and receipt within the Department of the Treasury, and provides federal agencies with an account statement - similar to bank statements provided to bank customers - of the agencies’ account balances with the United States Treasury," the US attorney's office for the Southern District of New York said in an official statement.

Zhang was hired as a contractor to work on the code where it's held in an access-controlled electronic repository in New York. During last summer he allegedly stole the GWA code, which has so far cost the US $9.5m to develop.

"According to the complaint, Zhang admitted that in July 2011, while working at the Fed, he checked out and copied the GWA code onto his hard drive at the Fed; he subsequently copied the GWA code onto an Fed-owned external hard drive; and he connected that external hard-drive to his private office computer, his home computer, and his laptop," the US attorney's office added.

"Zhang stated that he used the GWA Code in connection with a private business he ran training individuals in computer programming."

Despite Zhang's rather innocuous purported use for the code, he was arrested by the FBI on Wednesday morning and now faces up to ten years in prison and fines of up to $250,000.

"Zhang took advantage of the access that came with his trusted position to steal highly sensitive proprietary software. His intentions with regard to that software are immaterial. Stealing it and copying it threatened the security of vitally important source code," FBI assistant director-in-charge Janice K Fedarcyk said.

A New York Fed spokesperson told Reuters and others that the bank had investigated the breach as soon as it was uncovered and promptly referred the case to the authorities.

"The New York Fed has further strengthened its already considerable protections as a result of this incident," the spokesman said. ®

The next step in data security

More from The Register

next story
Israeli spies rebel over mass-snooping on innocent Palestinians
'Disciplinary treatment will be sharp and clear' vow spy-chiefs
Infosec geniuses hack a Canon PRINTER and install DOOM
Internet of Stuff securo-cockups strike yet again
'Speargun' program is fantasy, says cable operator
We just might notice if you cut our cables
Apple Pay is a tidy payday for Apple with 0.15% cut, sources say
Cupertino slurps 15 cents from every $100 purchase
YouTube, Amazon and Yahoo! caught in malvertising mess
Cisco says 'Kyle and Stan' attack is spreading through compromised ad networks
Hackers pop Brazil newspaper to root home routers
Step One: try default passwords. Step Two: Repeat Step One until success
Greater dev access to iOS 8 will put us AT RISK from HACKERS
Knocking holes in Apple's walled garden could backfire, says securo-chap
Microsoft to patch ASP.NET mess even if you don't
We know what's good for you, because we made the mess says Redmond
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.