A two-year investigation in Italy has culminated in the arrests of at least five people for telecom fraud and another person being sought for allegedly orchestrating hacking attacks on the IT systems of telecom companies that enable them to commit the fraud. AT&T alone reportedly has lost about several million dollars and U.S. telcos combined up to $56 million over a period of several years as a result of the hacking and related fraud. (Editor's Note: There have been conflicting reports from various publications, with some putting AT&T's possible loss at $56 million, but a Dow Jones Newswires report saying that the collective loss to U.S. telcos though the ring was roughly that amount. We will try to update this post as we get further details).
The hacker, a Filipino, allegedly stole access codes for international phone calls and sold them to a group of Pakistanis based in Italy. The plot may have terrorism undercurrents as well, as some of the profits gained may have helped fund the activities of Islamist extremists in Pakistan and Afghanistan, according to a story at Network World.
Remember when hacking was just a prank?