Hackers From Minsk

Wired takes an interesting look at computer security breaches at Wal-Mart from a few years ago.

It’s a good probe, based on internal company documents, with most of the facts confirmed by Wal-Mart. While apparently no sensitive customer data was stolen, the fact that someone could gain access to the world’s largest retailer’s computers without detection for a long period is troubling.

Still, for us, amid all the talk about compromised VPN accounts, L0phtcrack password-cracking tools, and packet sniffers, one intriguing fact stood out.

Wal-Mart uncovered the breach in November 2006, after a fortuitous server crash led administrators to a password-cracking tool that had been surreptitiously installed on one of its servers. Wal-Mart’s initial probe traced the intrusion to a compromised VPN account, and from there to a computer in Minsk, Belarus.

The takeaway: You cannot hide from Wired, even in Minsk.

(h/t: Bloomberg)

Dean Starkman Dean Starkman runs The Audit, CJR's business section, and is the author of The Watchdog That Didn't Bark: The Financial Crisis and the Disappearance of Investigative Journalism (Columbia University Press, January 2014). Follow Dean on Twitter: @deanstarkman.