In an ironic twist, hackers have stolen credit card and personal data from a major computer forensic developer, Guidance Software. According to company officials, the intrusion occurred in November and customers were informed last week in a letter. In addition to credit card numbers, the hackers made off with names, addresses, telephone numbers, expiration dates and the three or four digit card verification number on the back of every credit card.
Most law enforcements agencies and many corporate security firms have a copy of Guidance's EnCase forensic software. The program helps an investigator to recover deleted data and extract text from emails and instant messaging software. EnCase keeps a court-friendly log of each investigation because most cases are not decided in the computer lab, but rather won or lost in a court of law.
In a call to Guidance, company officials did confirm that an intrusion did occur, but declined to comment further until the investigation is complete. The United States Secret Service is helping Guidance conduct the investigation.