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Target attack details suggest organized crime tie, WSJ reports


Jim Hammerand

Digital editor- Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal
The skilled hackers who stole personal information and payment data from Target shoppers may have ties to organized crime in the former Soviet Union, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Investigators found Russian language in the malicious computer code used to pilfer personal information from Target check-out lanes and said the attack didn't just go after the Minneapolis-based retailer.
The Wall Street Journal said the partly-Russian code had been on the Internet black market since last spring and cited former U.S. officials as saying those details suggest an organized crime link.
The report said the operational sophistication of the attack stood out from other electronic crimes and is indicative of the kind of attacks that will come in the future, NBC News reported. The network explained how the malicious software worked:
"The insidious file triggers a 'hook' and starts to suck up information on transactions in the memory of the cash register system or the server that controls it. Since the data on credit cards is encrypted, the system works by getting it in the authorization stage while it is in the memory of the POS system, unencrypted."