Feeds

Australian cops bust Romanian credit card thieves

Wrestler questioned after RDP SNAFU and two vulns lead to 500k card heist

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Australia's Federal Police (AFP) has triumphantly announced it has brought a gang of Romanian credit card fraudsters to heel, but not before the criminals purloined half a million credit card numbers from small Australian retailers.

Detective superintendent Brad Marden, the AFP's national co-ordinator for cybercrime operations, told The Register the gang targeted small retailers likely to be ignorant of security and used three techniques to pull of the heist.

The first was using remote desktop management software to infiltrate retailers' PCs, an exploit made possible by the fact whoever installed it had not changed the default passwords.

"The stores relied on local consultants who they were not experts on PCI-DSS, they just wanted to set up a simple small business network," Marden explained. That left RDP ignored and open to attack.

The second issue was un-patched point of sale software.

The third vulnerability that made the attack possible was an insecure point-of-sale PIN pad that Marden said was in the process of being addressed by banks, which issue the devices.

Once attackers were able to access PCs through RDP they were then able to operate the point of sale software and access credit card numbers collected from the PIN pads.

Marden said 46 of the 100 PCs known to have been hit offered sufficient evidence of the source of the hacking and that Australia's banks gathered evidence to help the force pursue the case.

Both vulnerabilities have since been addressed and an education campaign has commenced to inform small retailers about the need to update their software and hardware.

The gang came to the AFP's attention in June 2011 and the revelation of its activities set in motion a 13-nation effort that yesterday culminated in the detention of 16 people, among them champion Graeco-Roman wrestler and mixed martial arts practitioner Gheorghe 'The Carpathian Bear' Ignat, according to the ABC.

Georghe 'The Carpathian Bear' Ignat

Source: Wikipedia

The Carpathian Bear was not one of seven people arrested over the matter, which saw $AUD30m of purchases made with purloined credit card numbers. Those transactions took place around the world.

The AFP says those purchases were made with 30,000 credit cards, but that the gang managed to get its hands on half a million.

Australian financial institutions have made sure punters aren't out of pocket, refunding them for fraudulent purchases.

The news may not be as good for the retailers, as contracts offered by banks down under can make them liable for fraudulent transactions if they've not taken all requisite safeguards to protect credit cards. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Russian hackers exploit 'Sandworm' bug 'to spy on NATO, EU PCs'
Fix imminent from Microsoft for Vista, Server 2008, other stuff
FYI: OS X Yosemite's Spotlight tells Apple EVERYTHING you're looking for
It's on by default – didn't you read the small print?
Microsoft pulls another dodgy patch
Redmond makes a hash of hashing add-on
'LulzSec leader Aush0k' found to be naughty boy not worthy of jail
15 months home detention leaves egg on feds' faces as they grab for more power
Kill off SSL 3.0 NOW: HTTPS savaged by vicious POODLE
Pull it out ASAP, it is SWISS CHEESE
Facebook slurps 'paste sites' for STOLEN passwords, sprinkles on hash and salt
Zuck's ad empire DOESN'T see details in plain text. Phew!
Admins! Never mind POODLE, there're NEW OpenSSL bugs to splat
Four new patches for open-source crypto libraries
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
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.