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Saturday, 20 November 2010

Malaysian charged with hacking into US bank, highly skilled

NEW YORK: A Malaysian man, charged on Thursday with hacking into computer networks of the US Federal Reserve Bank (FRB) and a defence contractor, was caught by Secret Service agents while selling stolen credit card numbers for US$1,000 (RM3,200) at a diner in New York.

Court documents released by US prosecutors said the man, identified as Lin Mun Poo, 32, was arrested on Oct 21, hours after arriving in New York.

He was indicted by a grand jury on Thursday on four charges, including hacking into the system of a US central bank branch in Cleveland, Ohio.

“In his post-arrest statement, the defendant admitted compromising the computer servers of a number of major financial institutions and companies,” US prosecutors in Brooklyn wrote in a letter to US District Judge Dora Irizarry, who was assigned the case.

It said Lin admitted exploiting a vulnerability he found in the bank’s computer system.

“The Federal Reserve Bank in Cleveland, Ohio, has confirmed that an FRB computer network was hacked in June 2010, resulting in thousands of dollars in damages, affecting 10 or more computers,” the letter said.

A court hearing for the judge to consider a government request to continue to detain Lin was postponed. No new date has been scheduled yet. Lin’s court-appointed lawyer was not available to comment.

Lin is a Malaysian with no professional or family ties to the US, the letter said. He arrived at New York’s John F. Kennedy airport from Europe with a round-trip ticket, planning to return on Nov 22.

“Within hours of his arrival at JFK, US Secret Service agents observed the defendant selling stolen credit card numbers for $1,000 at a diner in Brooklyn and arrested him shortly thereafter,” the letter to the judge said.

Other allegations against Lin include possession of more than 400,000 stolen credit cards and debit cards on an encrypted laptop computer that the agents seized.

If convicted, he faces a potential maximum prison sentence of between six-and-a-half years to eight years. -

Source: Reuters

Sunday November 21, 2010

Malaysian hacker highly skilled


PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian accused of hacking into the system of a US central bank branch in Cleveland, Ohio, is believed to be highly skilled and collaborating with others in carrying out cyber crimes.

US prosecutors described Lin Mun Poo, 32, as an “extremely sophisticated and dangerous computer hacker” in documents obtained from the US Justice Department.

Lin made world headlines for the wrong reasons — he managed to hack into high security cyber systems of major institutions in the US, including the Federal Reserve Bank and the Pentagon’s security contractors.

He was caught in a New York diner by the Secret Service on Oct 21 while allegedly selling stolen credit card numbers for US$1,000 (RM3,100). It was only hours after he had arrived in the city.

On Thursday, he was indicted by a grand jury on four charges, including for hacking into the central bank branch in Cleveland.

If convicted, Lin faces a jail sentence of between six-and-a-half years and eight years.

According to Malaysian authorities, Lin hails from Ipoh where he has a registered business address.

“He is highly professional and we believe he works with at least one accomplice,” a senior police official told Sunday Star.

Lin, according to the official, came to the attention of US authorities four years ago in Thailand, where he was allegedly involved in hacking into some US-linked organisations.

“The fact that he was arrested by the Secret Service showed the seriousness of his activities.

“The Secret Service handles cases which are deemed to be a threat to national security,” said the official.

Justice Department prosecutors told US district judge Dora Irizarry in a letter that in August, Lin hacked into the secure computer system of a major defence department contractor which provides systems management for military transport and other highly sensitive military operations.

It is understood that the primary purpose of Lin’s trip to the United States was to meet someone he believed was capable of regularly providing him with a large volume of stolen card numbers and personal identification numbers.

Meanwhile, consul-general in New York Mohd Zamruni Khalid said he received notification from authorities on Friday regarding Lin’s arrest.

Efforts were being made to see Lin and contact his family in Malaysia, he said, adding that the Consulate General office was prepared to provide assistance if there was a request from Lin or his family.

However, he declined to comment further until they met Lin.