'Hacker' investigated for cyber crime after bragging to a co-worker

Muneeb Akhter is under investigation for inflating the value of gift cards artificially by unlawfully accessing e-commerce sites.

Akhter graduated from George Mason University when he was 19 with a Master’s degree in computer engineering. After graduating he began his own company, Warden Systems, that specialized in cyber security. During this time he created software that was able to inflate the value of a pre-paid gift card without actually using any funds. He utilized this method with numerous retailers including Sears, K-Mart, Starbucks, and Whole Foods.

After obtaining a new cyber security job in June, he shared his experience with a fellow co-worker. This led to the co-worker reporting the incident to a manager, who then contacted Homeland Security. Within weeks, Homeland Security and Secret Service agents came to his home with a search warrant and seized anything that could be of use in their investigation.

He has since lost his job and although these events have taken place, Akhter has not been formally charged with any crime. He has hired a lawyer and will wait to see what the investigation finds. In his defense, Akhter states that he was going to approach retailers with a fix and that was all part of his research.

Source: NBC | Image via NBC

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28 Comments

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So he inflated the gift card values, but does it say anywhere he actually used them? I didn't read the original article...

Jared- said,
As if you'd report someone talking smack. People really care too much....
if a warrant was issued, it takes a lot more then talking big.

I did not realize 'Homeland Security' investigated Gift Card Frauds. I am guessing the real reason Homeland Security is involved is because of the hacker's Muslim sounding name.

when CCCPN.com was selling $40 staples reward checks (which are distributed in the form of coupon codes), homeland security also got involved and shut them down, so I really dont think is the case.

raghavny80 said,
I did not realize 'Homeland Security' investigated Gift Card Frauds. I am guessing the real reason Homeland Security is involved is because of the hacker's Muslim sounding name.

Homeland Security is actually closer to what Germany had in WWII the SS.

"In his defense, Akhter states that he was going to approach retailers with a fix and that was all part of his research."

Why am not shocked to hear this [lame ass excuse]? ROFL

Believe it or not there's much more money to be made selling the exploit than actually using it. So i'm not shocked personally and it might very well nmot be an excuse at all. He will be paid anyway you can be sure about that. Come back in 10 years this guy will be paid big money.

"Akhter said he was able to load a Sears card with at least $500, a K-Mart card with $495, a Whole Foods card with $300 and a Starbucks card with $100. Akhter said he never actually used the monetary value he added to the card"

It's not defrauding if you are not using the money.

LaP said,
It's not defrauding if you are not using the money.

That's a good point. It also means that his research was never tested and possibly does not even work!

Even if he was "researching" he still did it, he's still at fault... you can only not be at fault if the company gives you permission to test the method