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[ISN] Veteran defence hacking suspect cuffed in Greece


By John Leyden
The Register
28th January 2008

A man suspected of using computer hacking techniques to steal corporate 
secrets from a French defence contractor was arrested in Greece last 
Friday. Police are continuing to hunt for a suspected accomplice 
reckoned to be living in the UK.

The as-yet-unnamed 58-year-old mathematician was wanted for questioning 
for the theft of data from France's Dassault Group, a major aviation 
supplier with ties to the defence industry. The man is suspected of 
purloining sensitive data and selling it to an estimated 250 buyers over 
the net located in Brazil, as well as countries in Asia, western Europe 
and the Balkans. Among the data sold was specialist software used for 
making planes and automobiles.

The suspected perp, a Greek national, has reportedly been wanted for 
questioning for almost five years.

"This 58-year-old mathematician was wanted since 2002 after Dassault 
contacted Greek authorities," a police official told Reuters [1].

"He is responsible for causing damages in excess of $361m to the company 
and he has sold this corporate data, including information on weapons 
systems, to about 250 buyers through the internet."

Police reckon the suspect cracked the security of Dassault Group's 
network in order to steal the data. After five years on the lam, the 
suspect was thought to have been tracked down to an apartment in central 
Athens that the man was allegedly renting under a false name.

"He is one of the world's best hackers, using the nickname ASTRA, but we 
are also looking for an accomplice in the UK who helped him locate 
buyers online," the police official said.

Details on the arrest remain sketchy and form the basis of seemingly 
conflicting reports. AP, for instance, reports [2] that the 
mathematician had been arrested on two previous occasions on similar 
charges, but both cases are yet to come to court.

[1] http://www.reuters.com/article/technologyNews/idUSL2568324820080125
[2] http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/ap/fn/5486068.html

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