Russian Teen Suspected as Author of Target Hacking Code

But he likely didn't steal the cards himself

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Eric Thayer / Reuters

The malware used to hack into Target’s credit card system may have been written by a 17-year old Russian teen, although investigators don’t think the programmer was involved in the actual security breach that may have also affected high-end retailer Neiman Marcus.

Los Angeles-based software intelligence company IntelCrawler reports the data breach was caused by an “off-the-shelf” malware called BlackPOS, and that the teenager who originally invented BlackPOS likely was not the perpetrator in the theft. The findings come from a joint investigation conducted by the U.S. Secret Service and iSIGHT Partners, a cyber intelligence group. Credit card and other personal information for 70 million customers was compromised in the Target hack, though it’s unclear if the same malware was to blame for a smaller-scale attack on Neiman Marcus.

IntelCrawler CEO Andrew Komarov posed as a cybercriminal and chatted with the teen, and said the hacker told him he would sell him the malware for $2,000 or 50 percent of all intercepted credit cards.


This is certainly the new reality of electronic consumerism. If someone is willing to make a "blackhat" software that'll rig a company's POS system, all companies everywhere need to adapt with the proper security measures. 

In fact, they need to update their systems as frequently as all of the other electronic services do. My phone apps undergo security updates at least once a week. The same is so for my blogging software. That means a POS system should undergo the same frequency of updates in order to stay ahead of the "blackhats."