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Malaysian National Charged With Hacking Federal Reserve Bank

Defendant stole more than 400,000 credit and debit card numbers, authorities say

A federal grand jury has indicted a Malaysian national with hacking computers at the Federal Reserve Bank and possessing more than 400,000 stolen credit and debit card numbers.

The four-count indictment was returned by a federal grand jury in Brooklyn Thursday, according to a release from the Department of Justice. Lin Mun Poo was arrested on a criminal complaint shortly after his arrival in the United States on Oct. 21, 2010, and has been held in custody since then, the DoJ says.

According to the government's pleadings and a detention letter filed yesterday, the defendant "made a career" of compromising computer servers belonging to financial institutions, defense contractors, and major corporations, among others, and selling or trading the information.

On Oct. 21, the defendant traveled to the United States to obtain additional stolen financial account information from other hackers, which he planned to use and sell for his own profit, according to the indictment. When he was arrested a few hours after his arrival at John F. Kennedy International Airport, Secret Service agents seized his heavily encrypted laptop computer, which contained a massive quantity of financial account data and personal identifying information that he had allegedly obtained by hacking into various computer systems.

The victims included FedComp, a data processor for federal credit unions, according to the release. As a result, the defendant was able to gain unauthorized access to the data of various federal credit unions, such as the Firemen's Association of the State of New York and the Mercer County New Jersey Teachers.

The defendant also allegedly compromised the computer servers of a number of major financial institutions and companies, including a computer network of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, Ohio, by exploiting an unspecified vulnerability.

The defendant's cybercrime activities allegedly extended to the national security sector. According to the government's pleadings and detention letter, he hacked into the computer system of a Department of Defense contractor that provides systems management for military transport and other military operations, potentially compromising highly sensitive military logistics information.

If convicted of the most serious offenses, the defendant faces a maximum sentence of 10 years' imprisonment.

Have a comment on this story? Please click "Discuss" below. If you'd like to contact Dark Reading's editors directly, send us a message. Tim Wilson is Editor in Chief and co-founder of Dark Reading.com, UBM Tech's online community for information security professionals. He is responsible for managing the site, assigning and editing content, and writing breaking news stories. Wilson has been recognized as one ... View Full Bio

 

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