Friday, October 17, 2008

Alleged Hackers Charged With Highway Robbery, Literally

Kevin Poulsen writes on Threat Level:

In this week's Fed Blotter, Nicholas Lakes and Viachelav Berkovich are charged with computer fraud for a man-in-the-middle attack that allegedly let them run a profitable trucking company without the hassle of driving a truck.

For over three years the Russian immigrants repeatedly hacked a Department of Transportation website called, which maintains a list of licensed interstate trucking companies and brokers, according to an affidavit filed by a department investigator. There, the pair would temporarily change the contact information for a legitimate trucking company to an address and phone number under their control.

The men then took to the web-based "load boards" where brokers advertise cargo in need of transportation. They'd negotiate a deal, for example, to transport cargo from American Canyon, California, to Jessup, Maryland, for $3,500.

But instead of transporting the load, Lakes and Berkovich would outsource the job to another trucking company, the feds say, posing as the legitimate company whose identity they'd hijacked. Once the cargo was delivered, the men allegedly invoiced their customer and pocketed the funds. But when the company that actually drove the truck tried to get paid, they'd eventually discover that the firm who'd supposedly hired them didn't know anything about it.

More here.


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