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)

Has America ever needed a media watchdog more than now? Help us by joining CJR today.

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.