Hackers can’t crack us, say credit agencies

Stories of personal details being broken into are exaggerated

Europe's largest credit reference agency has hit out at reports that hackers are able to break into internal networks and alter sensitive personal and financial information held on databases. Peter Brooker, associate director at Experian was responding to a story featured in yesterday's Daily Telegraph about a man whose details were allegedly altered at an unnamed credit reference agency by a vindictive hacker. "It's just not feasible," said Brooker who also revealed that the circumstances surrounding the story are identical to a PR stunt uncovered last year. In that case a man who had created a secure firewall allegedly had his personal details altered at an unnamed credit reference agency after he became the victim of a revenge attack by a disgruntled hacker. "I think someone is trying to get publicity at the expense of other organisations said Brooker. "I can only speak for Experian but we aren't aware of anyone getting through our firewalls -- ever. People have tried but they've never succeeded. "Nor have we ever had a complaint of a bona fide case of someone's details being altered, " he said. The report in yesterday's Daily Telegraph told how Paul Smith, an employee at London-based Gen Technology, had his personal details at an unnamed credit reference agency altered by a hacker with a grudge. A representative of Gen Technology claimed that Smith is still trying to clear his name 10 months after being slurred. Yet officials at Experian said that in the unlikely event of this happening, any discrepancy would be cleared up in less than 24 hours. Smith is the brains behind a new system called Access Denied that, allegedly, prevents hackers from breaching network security. But when hackers failed to breach the company's defence after being issued with a challenge, Smith became the target of a personal revenge campaign that led to him having six default notices and a County Court judgement lodged against his name. But The Register can reveal that the event happened almost a year ago and that Paul Smith is just a pseudonym. Gen Technology said it could not release the unknown employee’s real name for supposed security reasons. When The Register tried to speak to "Mr Smith" we were told he was out of the country and unavailable for comment. A spokeswoman for the Gen Technology's PR company, Fox Parrack Fox, denied it was just a publicity stunt but admitted it was a "PR gift." ®

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