Massive Data Theft
During a time when large thefts of personal data are dime-a-dozen, this one stands out.
What is thought to be the largest U.S. banking security breach in history has gotten even bigger.
The number of bank accounts accessed illegally by a New Jersey cybercrime ring has grown to 676,000, according to police investigators. That's up from the initial estimate of 500,000 accounts police said last month had been breached.
Hackensack, N.J., police Det. Capt. Frank Lomia said today that an additional 176,000 accounts were found by investigators who have been probing the ring for several months. All 676,000 consumer accounts involve New Jersey residents who were clients at four different banks, he said.
Even before the latest account tally was made public, the U.S. Department of the Treasury labeled the incident the largest breach of banking security in the U.S. to date.
The case has already led to criminal charges against nine people, including seven former employees of the four banks. The crime ring apparently accessed the data illegally through the former bank workers. None of those employees were IT workers, police said.
One amazing thing about the story is how manual the process was.
The suspects pulled up the account data while working inside their banks, then printed out screen captures of the information or wrote it out by hand, Lomia said. The data was then provided to a company called DRL Associates Inc., which had been set up as a front for the operation. DRL advertised itself as a deadbeat-locator service and as a collection agency, but was not properly licensed for those activities by the state, police said.
And I'm not really sure out what the data was stolen for:
The information was then allegedly sold to more than 40 collection agencies and law firms, police said.
Is collections that really big an industry?
Edited to add: Here is some good commentary by Adam Fields.
Posted on May 24, 2005 at 8:49 AM • 29 Comments