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Aviation Hacker under Arrest in Greece

On January 25, 2008, the police of Greece arrested a man in Athens, Greece, for hacking into the systems of Dassault Group, an aviation company of France, for over five years and stole data on sensitive weapon technology, and sold it to different countries.

The Greek officials confirmed that the arrested convict, who calls himself "ASTRA" (58) is a mathematician and he sold the confidential data to around 250 people, including people from South Africa, Brazil, Germany, Italy, and France via Internet. The stolen data on Dassault was also sold to the people residing in the states of Middle East.

The UK police is seeking for the accomplice who helped the convict get an access to the online buyers of the stolen information.

The Greek officials said that the convict has caused damage worth $360 Million to Dassault. "ASTRA" stole the information on specialist software that is used to manufacture automobiles and jets along with other data. The data was sold by "ASTRA" for $1000 each in batches. Dassault contacted Greek officials about the hacking activity in the year 2002 and the officials were tracking the accused hacker since then, said the officials.

Vice President of Marketing at Guardium, Phil Neray, revealed to SCMagazineUS on January 30, 2008 that out of all the information released so far, it is unclear whether "ASTRA" operated from within the organization. Neray said that as weapon developers and weapon producers have the tendency to share information on design with their sub-contractors and suppliers, it is likely that the crime executor is an outsider.

Neray further explained that the organizations like Dassault need to open a hole in their firewall so that their external partners can access the system to design the data, and this opportunity is enough for a hacker to access sensitive information.

Vice President of Marketing for database security vendor Vaau, Paul Velusamy, differed on data theft issue, as reported by SCMagazineUS on January 30, 2008. Velusamy asserted that the hacker is surely an insider. He explained that hacker might have got an opportunity to work on a project with Dassault for a temporary period, and was given the right to access certain resources and after the project was completed, the permission was never cancelled.

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