Monday, October 27, 2008

Turkish Police May Have Beaten Encryption Key Out of TJ Maxx Suspect

Chris Soghoian writes on the C|Net "surveill@nce st@te" Blog:

When criminals turn to disk encryption to hide the evidence of their crimes, law enforcement investigations can hit a brick wall. Where digital forensics software has failed to recover encryption passwords, one tried and true technique remains: violence. It is is this more aggressive form of good cop bad cop behavior which the Turkish government is alleged to have turned to, in order to learn the cryptographic keys of one of primary ringleaders in the TJ Maxx credit card theft investigation.

The 2005 theft of tens of million credit card numbers from an unsecured wireless network run by TJ Maxx stores has lead to over 150 million dollars in damages for the company. The two gentlemen behind the heist sold the pilfered credit card information to others online. Eventually, the stolen cards reached Maksym Yastremskiy, a Ukrainian citizen, and, according to media reports, a "major figure in the international sale of stolen credit card information."

Mr Yastremskiy was later arrested in 2007, while on vacation in Turkey. The US government has formally requested that Yastremskiy be extradited, and has charged him with a number of crimes including aggravated identity theft.

More here.

Note: I was traveling on Friday and missed this -- hat-tip goes to Schneier. -ferg


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