According to news reports, federal authorities have cracked a ring of computer hackers that were able to breach network security systems and steal 41 million credit and debit card numbers from at least nine major retailers. Eleven people, including 3 US citizens, as well as individuals from Estonia, the Ukraine, Belarus, and China have been indicted.
Apparently the hackers used a “wardriving” approach where they simply cruised through retail areas looking for vulnerable wireless networks. They then hacked in, installed sniffer software, and skimmed the credit and debit card numbers directly as transactions were processed. The information was housed on servers in the Ukraine and Latvia, and either sold or used directly by the thieves.
It’s nice to know that stores are looking out for us and going to great lengths to protect our financial data, isn’t it?
This is just one more reason that you should be keeping a close eye on your credit report and either placing a fraud alert on your credit record or freezing your credit if you see anything suspicious.