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21 Tuesday

Authorities hope arrest of Ukraine man leads to TJX orchestrator

The Boston Globe first reported today that the arrested man, Maksym Yastremskiy, allegedly helped lead the sale of stolen data in the hacking incident, which resulted in the exposure of some 45.7 million customer credit and debit card numbers.

"He was involved in the distribution of information," Greg Crabb, an agent with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service’s global investigations unit, told the Associated Press. "We do have information that suggests other individuals were the masterminds of the hack."

Yastremskiy, 24, was arrested several weeks ago in Kemer, a Turkish resort town. Crabb said Turkish authorities learned that Yastremskiy was heavily involved in the sale of stolen TJX records.

Crabb told the Associated Press that considering Yastremskiy was trafficking more than a million credit numbers, he likely has close ties with the intruders.

Douglas Bem, a postal inspector investigating the case, told today that Yastremskiy sold the stolen card numbers in "cybercrime networks" for between $20 and $100, depending on the level of the account.

"This is a signficant development, but I'm not in a position to characterize this as a break [in the case]," he said, adding that an international law enforcement partnership continues to investigate.

This is the first clue that authorities could be closing in on the culprits responsible for engineering the largest reported data heist in U.S. history. Until now, the only major development in the case came when a group of Florida residents was charged with using stolen TJX data to purchase merchandise.

Gartner analyst Avivah Litan has told that law enforcement sources have told her the masterminds are based overseas and have therefore been difficult to apprehend. could not immediately reach Crabb or a spokesperson for the Framingham, Mass.-based TJX for comment.

Today’s news comes roughly a week after the discount clothing chain, with about 2,500 retail locations, reported that the breach will cost at least $118 million. Some analysts believe that figure will easily rise once lawsuits and fines kick in. Sales figures at the comany, though, remain strong.

09 Friday

TJX hacker gets 30-year prison sentence

A Ukrainian man, one of the orchestrator's of the monster TJX breach, has been sentenced to 30 years in prison in Turkey.
Authorities believe Maksym Yastremskiy, 25, led the sale of data stolen through the March 2007 hacking of discount retailer TJX, in which potentially more than 45 million credit card and debit card numbers were exposed.

Yastremskiy was sentenced to 30 years in prison and ordered to pay fines totaling US$23,200 for unauthorized access to computer systems and fraud, unrelated to the TJX theft. Yastremskiy reportedly hacked into the computer systems of 12 Turkish banks, then sold hundreds of thousands of credit card numbers and other personal information.

Yastremskiy has been held in Turkey since he was arrested there in July 2007, when he was visiting the country on vacation. The United States has made a formal request for his extradition pending the resolution of Turkish charges, the U.S. Department of Justice said in August.

In the United States, Yastremskiy and 10 others face charges for hacking into the wireless computer networks of nine major retailers — including TJX, BJ's Wholesale Club, OfficeMax, Boston Market, Barnes Noble, Sports Authority, Forever 21 and DSW -- resulting in the theft and sale of more than 40 million credit and debit card numbers.