A baby-faced teenager is the key suspect behind the software that was used in the massive security breach at Target over the holidays.
As many as 110 million Target shoppers had their credit card details stolen after a computer program was written to collect the credit card details of shoppers.
The data theft, unprecedented in its scale, took place over a 19-day period that began the day before Thanksgiving. Target said that it identified and resolved the issue on December 15.
Whiz kid: Security company Intel Crawler posted these Web images of 17-year-old Russian, Sergey Taraspov. It’s believed he may be the architect of the malware that hacked up to 110 million Target customers.
He’s a 17-year-old with ‘roots’ in St.Petersburg, Russia, according to the report and conversations with executives from IntelCrawler.
IntelCrawler CEO Andrew Komarov didn’t accuse the young man of the Target heist but said he believes he developed the software used to skim credit card numbers and other personal data from millions of Target shoppers.
The malware, known as BlackPOS, has been downloaded at least 60 times since it was created, Komarov said.
A Target investigation into the security breach which took place over the busy holiday period showed that the stolen information included names, mailing addresses, phone numbers and email addresses.
The Target attack has potentially compromised 40 million card accounts with some 70 million shoppers’ email and other personal information also stolen from a separate system during the security breach.
Target has advised its customers to check their statements carefully. Those who see suspicious charges on the cards should report it to their credit card companies and call Target at 866-852-8680.