Four charged with hacking point-of-sale computers

Romanian hackers targeted Subway restaurants and other U.S. retailers, the DOJ says

Four residents of Romania have been charged for their alleged participation in a multimillion-dollar scheme to remotely access point-of-sale systems at more than 150 Subway restaurants and other U.S. merchants and steal payment card data, the U.S. Department of Justice said.

The four-count indictment, unsealed Wednesday, charges the four Romanians with conspiracy to commit computer fraud, wire fraud and access device fraud. Charged in U.S. District Court for the District of New Hampshire were Adrian-Tiberiu Oprea, 27, of Constanta, Romania; Iulian Dolan, 27, of Craiova; Cezar Iulian Butu, 26, of Ploiesti; and Florin Radu, 23, of Rimnicu Vilcea.

Oprea was arrested last week in Romania and is in custody there, the DOJ said in a press release. Dolan and Butu were arrested upon their entry into the U.S. in August 2011 and remain in custody. Radu remains at large.

From 2008 until May 2011, Oprea, Dolan, Butu and Radu conspired to remotely hack into more than 200 U.S.-based merchants' point-of-sale (POS) or "checkout" computer systems in order to steal customers' credit, debit and gift card numbers and related data, the DOJ alleged. Compromised Subway restaurant systems were in New Hampshire, New York, California and elsewhere, according to the indictment.

A POS system allows merchants to process customer purchases and typically includes a computer, monitor, credit-card processing system, signature capture device and a customer pin pad device. Merchant victims include more than 150 Subway restaurant franchises in the U.S. and 50 other retailers. The four compromised the payment card data of more than 80,000 customers and made millions of dollars worth of unauthorized purchases, the DOJ said.

The defendants remotely scanned for vulnerable POS systems with remote desktop software installed, according to the indictment. They logged into the computers either by guessing the passwords or using password-cracking programs, the indictment said.

The four then installed keystroke loggers onto the POS systems, and they often installed back door Trojans onto the POS systems to allow them to access the systems in the future in order to install or re-install malware, the indictment said.

The defendants each face a maximum of five years in prison for each count of conspiracy to commit computer related fraud, 30 years in prison for each count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and five years in prison for each count of conspiracy to commit access device fraud. They also face fines up to twice the amount of the fraud loss and restitution, the DOJ said.

Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's e-mail address is grant_gross@idg.com.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags U.S. Department of JusticeAdrian-Tiberiu OpreaFlorin RaduCezar Iulian ButuIdentity fraud / theftSubwayfraudCriminalIulian DolansecuritylegalU.S. District Court for the District of New Hampshiredata breach

Struggling for Christmas presents this year? Check out our Christmas Gift Guide for some top tech suggestions and more.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Grant Gross

IDG News Service

Most Popular Reviews

Follow Us

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Shopping.com

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Latest Jobs

Shopping.com

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?