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Target Malware Traced to Hacker in Russia

Updated on January 26, 2014

By some reports, over 100 million American credit card holders who shopped at Target, were impacted. Then, shortly after that, Nordstrom's system was hacked and critical data stolen compromising credit card data.

Researchers have traced the virus to southern Russia. The code, in part, was created by a 23-year old named Rinat Shabaev through his digital footprints and web page. The guy creates such software to make a living, he sold this code to another Russian for $2000. He only wrote the part of the code that enabled the program to save card and debit card data when entered as a cash register and stash it on a server. This made the virus hard to detect at Target. The other part of the code was created by another, so he only improved it.

There is no crime. There is no crime for writing such software code in Russia.The code he created is benign when used in searching for computer vulnerabilities. Since he had no ill-intentions about using the code, police can do nothing, it is simply a product for sale. Of course, in the USA, it is a crime to use such code to for unauthorized access. But, again, he did not use it, the party he sold to, did.

Some have the called the program, Kaptoxa, which can move through a computer system undetected, stash financial information on a inside server before sending to other servers in Russia.

Rinat only recently found out because people began to accuse him at Saratov University, where he is well known for coding. He was surprised. The plug-in code was probably integrated by the buyer who was using Kaptoxa.

Researchers are still trying to figure out exactly how it penetrates a secure system.

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