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TJX hacker banged up for 30 years

From 'clothes express' to Midnight Express...

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Maksym Yastremskiy, the Ukrainian accused of being a key figure in the infamous TJX Wi-Fi hack of 2005, has been sentenced to 30-years in prison by a Turkish court.

Yastremskiy - or 'Maksik' as he was sometimes identified - was one of 11 people eventually arrested at the request of the US Department of Justice, with the Ukrainian reportedly being apprehended in undignified fashion outside a Turkish nightclub in 2008.

Yastremskiy's part in the crime was allegedly to have purchased credit card numbers stolen during the huge crime, providing the gang with an economic hub for its activities. Other members of the gang hailed from Estonia, Belarus, China, and several parts of the US itself, underlining the global nature of modern electronic crime.

Although not the perpetrator of the hack itself, Yastremskiy would have been essential to its success. He is reported to have been suspected of being behind other crimes not related to the TJX affair.

The TJX hack will go down as the first major disclosed commercial hack in history, after US-based hackers were able to 'wardrive' their way into a poorly-protected Wi-Fi system used for point-of-sale traffic. Forty-five million customer credit cards were said to have been exposed, leaving parent company. TJX, owning up to potential liabilities of at least $118 million.

Security vendors queued up to declare their satisfaction at the sentence. "Yastremskiy will certainly have plenty of time to ponder whether his hacking activities were worthwhile," commented Graham Cluley of Sophos.

"The length of this jail time should also make others engaged in cybercrime think again," he said. "It may seem like the chances of being caught are small, but there are more and more convictions happening all the time, and the authorities are getting better than ever at co-operating at an international level to catch the bad guys."



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