Threat Management

Travel firms ordered by feds to spy on Russian hacker

Threatpost reports that the U.S. government in 2015 had issued orders to the Sabre and Travelport travel firms in the U.S. and the U.K., respectively, to monitor and provide information on Russian hacker Aleksei Burkov, who was then suspected to be involved in the theft of stolen credit cards worth $20 million on his Cardplanet website. Information provided by the travel agencies was integral to Burkov's arrest in December 2015, which was followed by his extradition to the U.S. four years later and his sentencing the year after. Despite some concerns from privacy advocates regarding the federal government's forcing of tech firms to surrender data, security professionals noted that such actions are necessary to facilitate criminal investigations. "After reviewing the facts of the case, a federal judge agreed there was enough cause and issued a ruling that authorized this activity. This was not a case of rogue government officials conducting unapproved data collection," said Rosa Smothers, a former CIA cyber threat analyst and technical intelligence officer, who is now a senior vice president at KnowBe4.

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