[ISN] Hacker with a conscience

From: InfoSec News <alerts_at_private>
Date: Fri, 4 Jul 2008 04:18:06 -0500 (CDT)

By Lee Rondganger
Independent Online    
July 03 2008 

For more than two years, Alistair Peterson headed an elaborate online 
bank-hacking syndicate.

He was the thorn in the side of South Africa's four giant banks whose 
top cyber experts were left red-faced every time he hacked through 
several security features and accessed their "secure" banking accounts.

In a single day on December 24 2005 he swiped R9,8-million from the 
account of a government department. It was his first hack ever.

When he was eventually caught two years and two months later he had 
stashed R17-million in a bank account in Swaziland.

Peterson says he never took money from the personal accounts of 
individuals - his targets were always big business, trust funds and 
corporate accounts.

"I never needed the money, I was a software architect for a computer 
company where I was earning R80 000 a month. What I was doing was just 
for fun. It was the thrill of being able to do it," he said.

Because of the complex structure of the syndicate, Peterson got only a 
quarter of what they stole - and that was if his "e-mules" didn't 
double-cross him and run off with all the money.

Peterson - who has a BSc degree in computer sciences from Rand Afrikaans 
University - developed a virus called Regger.W32, which he programmed to 
maliciously spread itself from computer to computer, installing spyware 
as it went along.


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Received on Fri Jul 04 2008 - 02:18:06 PDT

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