18 June 2005

Potential Identity Theft

On LATimes.com:

In the largest reported security breach of personal financial information, hackers infiltrated the computers at a Tucscon credit card processing center and stole as many as 40 million card numbers, it was disclosed Friday.

MasterCard International said card numbers and expiration dates were harvested by a rogue program planted inside the computer network at CardSystems Inc., one of the firms that process merchant requests for credit-card authorization. When a retailer swipes a customer's card, the information goes to companies like CardSystems for approval before getting passed along to banks.

At least 68,000 accounts have already had fraudulent charges posted to them, said MasterCard Vice President Linda Locke. Most credit card companies reverse bogus charges that are reported to them. Social Security numbers and other personal information were not taken.

The attack exposed the numbers of 13.9 million MasterCards and an unknown number of other brands of cards, including American Express. Atlanta-based CardSystems processes $15 billion in charges annually for MasterCard, Visa, American Express, Discover and other cards. Visa did not return a call seeking comment.

Keep a close eye on your credit statements - check them online daily for the next week or so, if you can. Be very prepared to report bogus purchases if they show up.

Is it just me, or has there been a lot of identity theft and loss/improper transmission of personal information in the news lately? The Berkeley laptop, the lost Citibank tapes, the data swiped from LexisNexis... it's getting out of hand. I guess the real question is, has there been an uptick in identity theft, or are the stories just making it out to the news more frequently?

1 comment:

Hugh said...

actually the reason we are seeing more of stories conserning ident theft is explained in the story,

"MasterCard's revelation is the latest in a series of reported data breaches that began this year with word that identity thieves had accessed sensitive information on at least 145,000 people tracked by data broker ChoicePoint Inc. Major security lapses also have been disclosed at LexisNexis, Bank of America Corp. and, most recently, Citigroup Inc., which said the financial information of 3.9 million customers was lost by United Parcel Service Inc.

The reports, spurred by a California law requiring notification of consumers put at riskhave driven a spate of congressional hearings and proposals for tighter regulation. On Thursday, for instance, a Senate panel heard members of the Federal Trade Commission call for a national disclosure law and mandatory encryption."

in otherwords its all California's fault that we are seeing more problems.