AT&T customers in $2M Saudi terror hack, via Philippines

By Richi Jennings (@richi ) - November 28, 2011.

Saudi terrorists have siphoned millions of dollars from AT&T (NYSE:T), via hackers in the Philippines. With help from the FBI, local police have arrested four suspects. In IT Blogwatch, bloggers wonder how much this will increase future AT&T bills.

Your humble blogwatcher curated these bloggy bits for your entertainment. Not to mention: TL;DR...

    John Ribeiro reports:

FBI agents...have uncovered a "paper trail" of various bank transactions allegedly linking the [Filipino] hackers to [a terrorist] cell in Saudi Arabia. ... AT&T...suffered losses of up to US$2 million as a result of a hack of its system.


The Philippines police said that Muhammad Zamir, a Jemaah Islamiyah member, paid the suspects to hack...AT&T. Revenue derived from the hacking was diverted to the...terrorists, who paid the Filipino hackers on a commission basis.   

   Charles Arthur adds:

[T]he hackers broke into the phone systems of some AT&T customers and made calls to international premium-rate services. ... Such scams are relatively common. ... Fraudsters make calls to the numbers...then collect their cash and move on.


Telecommunications carriers often end up footing the bill. ... AT&T said it wrote off some fraudulent charges that appeared on customer bills.   

And DJ Yap reads the roll:

[Arrested] suspects [are] Macnell Gracilla, 31...Francisco Manalac, 25...Regina Balura, 21...and Paul Michael Kwan, 29.


Pakistani JI member Muhammad...Zamir’s group, which was...tagged by the FBI as the financial source of the terrorist attack in Mumbai, India...was also the same group that financed Kwan’s group of hackers in Manila.   

But Emma Woollacott lays down the law:

Philippines' Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG)...director, police director Samuel D urging...legislators to speed up the passage of the Cyber Crime Prevention make it easier to target other cyber crime terrorists who have made the country their base of operations.   

Meanwhile, one of Tina Brown's faceless minions quips:

Perhaps they got the idea from the British tabloids.   

And Finally...

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Richi Jennings, your humble blogwatcher

Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and security. He's the creator and main author of Computerworld's IT Blogwatch -- for which he has won American Society of Business Publication Editors and Jesse H. Neal awards on behalf of Computerworld. He also writes The Long View for IDG Enterprise. A cross-functional IT geek since 1985, you can follow him as @richi on Twitter, pretend to be richij's friend on Facebook, or just use good old email: You can also read Richi's full profile and disclosure of his industry affiliations.

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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