I wonder what his limit is?

— 12:55 AM on March 27, 2000

Here's an interesting little story on News.com. It seems that one of about 26,000 credit card numbers stolen by a hacker belonged to Mr. Bill Gates himself. Ouch.

The hacker in question has been arrested after a joint operation between the FBI and Welsh police. The FBI said losses from his activities (along with those of another hacker) could top $3 million.

For his part, the hacker claims he just did it to point out how insecure e-commerce sites are. He appears to have a point, since he hacked nine of them. I'm curious as to how the losses could top $3 million, though. Unless the article left out some information, all the guy did was e-mail them to a subsidiary of NBC, to prove his point.

If the $3 million comes from having to issue new credit cards compromised by lame-ass security, I have to side with the hacker on this one. If that cost $3 million, just imagine if he'd sold the damn things to somebody? Three million divided by 26,000 works out to $115.38, so they're probably using some inflated figure of man hours, card production costs, etc. They also attributed that figure to two guys, so there's no telling how it breaks down between the two of them. Wah. It could've been a hell of a lot worse.

So am I out of line on this one? One guy nailing nine different sites tells me there's something wrong here, and not with a hacker who was sitting on a gold mine and did nothing but hand it over to the media. Don't agree? Post a comment.

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