Turns out the mastermind behind the software leading to a massive Target breach that swiped credit card information from 110 million customers last November may have been none other than a (brilliant) teenager,according to investigators.
Authorities suspect that an unnamed 17-year-old with “ties to St. Petersburg” may have developed the “malware” software used to skim credit card numbers in the enormous data breach, which involved the theft of everything from confidential credit and debit card data to personal information like addresses and phone numbers. That same software may have also been used to hit up several other retailers, and a federal report this week suggested the software breach was an organized, likely Russian-instigated cyber attack on the U.S.
California cyber-security firm IntelCrawler says they’ve identified the “malware”‘s architect, tracking the software back to a 17-year-old with the username “ree4.” And though the firm does not believe the teenager orchestrated the cyber-attack, they note this isn’t the first malicious software he has designed, as per CEO Andrew Komarov: “Previously he has created several tools used in hacking community for brute force attacks, such as ‘Ree4 mail brute’, and also earned some first money with social networks accounts hacking and DDoS attacks trainings, as well as software development including malicious code.”
Several online chats were embedded in the report; the chats were conducted in Russian, and the translation alleges Ree4 sold one download of the software for $2000; investigators have still not managed to pinpoint the hackers directly responsible for the attack.
h/t – gothamist0