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Tuesday 12 December 2017

Thieves have hit jackpot with cyber plot

Paul Williams

HACKERS who managed to steal the credit and debit card details of 376,000 people "won the Lotto" and are already likely to have made millions from the plot, according to an international computer crime expert.

Gardai are unlikely to ever catch the culprits, who use a labyrinth of untraceable IP addresses, the cyber specialist also revealed.

"This was a classic cyber attack, which has the hallmarks of a global organised criminal racket specialising in targeting websites and breaching security to steal financial data," said the expert, who did not wish to be identified.

"The bad news is that they have probably already either sold on the data stolen in this case, or have used it to withdraw cash from ATMs or bought goods," he said.

While there have been no reports of fraudulent financial activity following the breach as of yet, the mere sale of such a huge amount of sensitive financial information could net a criminal gang a significant amount of cash.

"They have certainly hit the jackpot with this strike, the individual details of 70,000 individual credit cards is like winning the Lotto for international cyber crime gangs."

Clare-based Loyaltybuild, which operates leisure break schemes for SuperValu and Axa, has revealed that it first identified a security breach to its system on October 25.

It has since emerged that the cyber-attack was much more extensive than first thought, with the details of 62,000 SuperValu customers and 8,000 from Axa insurance now known to have been stolen.

The Computer Crime Unit attached to the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation has been called in to investigate.

But the cyber-crime expert told the Irish Independent that it is highly unlikely that detectives will ever trace the international data hackers.

The well-organised international gangs involved in the global fraud scams use Virtual Private Networks to avoid detection. The sophisticated syndicates operate from safe havens across Eastern Europe, Russia and much further afield. It is now a multi-billion-euro operation.

Irish Independent

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