TARGET BREACH: Could man arrested in Texas be connected? - KMSP-TV

TARGET BREACH: Could man arrested in Texas be connected?

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MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) -

Authorities in Texas say they may have made a major break in the Target data breach case, arresting a man who they believe could be involved in one of the biggest digital heists in history.



MUG SHOT: Man Guo Chen


It's been nearly 6 months since hackers stole the credit card information of 40 million customers and personal contact information of 70 million more, but the ripple effects are still being felt. Just one day ago, Target's CEO stepped down in the wake of the theft.

Texas police arrested Man Guo Chen near Austin and charged him with credit card abuse and fraudulent use of identifying information after he used fake credit cards to buy $2,000 worth of gift cards and iPads at Target stores in December.

Investigators believe he's connected to the massive data breach that occurred late last year, but a local security expert says he doesn't believe police have their man.

"I doubt very much that this individual is anything more than a common credit card criminal who bought this stolen card information that was tied back to the Target Breach," Mark Lanterman, CEO of Computer Forensic Services, said.

In Lanterman's view, Chen is similar to the two Mexican citizens arrested in Texas in January after they were found with almost 100 fake credit cards containing numbers stolen from Target customers.

"The hackers that attacked are far too smart to do this," Lanterman said. "They make their money by selling stolen credit card information, not using it to buy gift cards in Texas."

According to Lanterman, many security experts believe the man who wrote the malware that attacked Target is a Russian hacker who goes by the handle Rescator. In fact, he says just this week, Rescator sold 5,000 stolen credit card numbers that had billing addresses in Minnetonka -- and that means the effects of the breach are still far from over.

"My takeaway is: I was never comfortable with the advice they gave their customers not to cancel their cards," Lanterman told Fox 9 News. "If your viewers were to cancel their cards, this information would be worthless to anyone -- and by not canceling the cards, it enables these criminals to further their endeavors.

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