Attorney General Michael Mukasey announced the indictment himself -- the gang of 11 had possession of more than 40 million stolen credit card and debit card numbers. "The World's" Matthew Bell follows the trail of the stolen credit card data.
Prosecutors say this was a highly organized, sophisticated cyber crime operation run by people from the U.S., Ukraine, China, Estonia and Belarus. The indictment says they got started by driving around in a car with a laptop computer and tapping into retail stores' wireless networks. The technique is called "wardriving."
TJ Max, Barnes and Noble, Sports Authority, and Office Max are some of the retail stores where credit and debit card numbers were captured. The stolen information was sent to computers overseas, and from there, prosecutors say it was used to make fraudulent purchases, illegal cash withdrawals from ATMs, and even manufacture fake credit cards. US prosecutors say this particular gang did tens of millions of dollars in business.
Allan Paller is a computer security expert with the Sans Institute in Washington says the most troubling aspect of this cyber crime case has to do with the way some of the affected retail stores handled the situation: "Either they didn’t know there was a breach, or knew and didn’t tell."
PRI's "The World" is a one-hour, weekday radio news magazine offering a mix of news, features, interviews, and music from around the globe. "The World" is a co-production of the BBC World Service, PRI and WGBH Boston. More "The World."