Hackers Help Loggers Smuggle 1.7 Million Cubic Meters of Wood Out of Brazil

Hackers in Brazil have managed to break into the computerized system that tracks quotas for logging companies, allowing for the illegal logging and smuggling of nearly 1.7 million cubic meters of wood.

The haven't gotten away with it, however, as Brazil has been trying to crack down on illegal logging. Now there are 107 companies being sued for $833 million. In addition, 202 people are facing prosecution, including 30 "ringleaders" who brought the hackers and logging companies together.

Essentially what they did was falsify transportation permits. The Brazilian system is set up so that companies receive permits to transport their felled trees. The load is measured and that amount of wood is deducted from the total amount allowed. Once a company reaches its quota, it can’t get more permits and therefore can’t make more money by cutting down trees. However, hiring hackers got them around the system for long enough to do some big illegal damage.

We'll see if anything actually happens in court to stop this practice. [Greenpeace via Treehugger]