December 15, 2008

Hackers Release Fake Permits For Brazilian Loggers

Hackers aided logging companies in Brazil to avoid limits on tree felling, announced a Greenpeace report. The hi-tech criminals entered a computer system intended to observe logging in the Brazilian state of Para.

Once past the security system, the hackers released counterfeit permits so loggers cut down more timber than environmental officials were going to consent to.

Greenpeace estimates that 1.7m cubic meters of illegal lumber was removed with the help of the hackers. Looking at the information announced by Brazilian federal prosecutor Daniel Avelino, Greenpeace thinks that hackers were hired by 107 logging and charcoal corporations.

"Almost half of the companies involved in this scam have other law suits pending for environmental crimes or the use of slave labor," announced Avelino in a statement released by Greenpeace.

Avelino is suing the companies backing the huge hacking for two billion, the probable total of the timber illegally sold.

The Brazilian examination of the hackers started in April 2007 and about 30 ring leaders were arrested the same summer. The continuing investigation shows that 202 people are being charged due to their involvement.

The hack was caused in part by the choice in 2006 stop using paper forms to observe if logging and charcoal firms were observing the quotas set for them.

In its place, the Amazon state of Para started a fully-computerized organization that released travel permits for the timber logging firms.
Because of the hackers, Brazilian logging firms issued counterfeit permits letting them tear down illegal timber.

"We've pointed out before that this method of controlling the transport of timber was subject to fraud," said Andre Muggiati, Greenpeace campaigner in Manaus. "And this is only the tip of the iceberg, because the same computer system is also used in two other Brazilian states."


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