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Blackmailer posts credit card details on the Net

Hackers mock site's lax security

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A computer cracker lifted 55,000 credit card numbers from Creditcards.com and then posted the information on the Internet after an unsuccessful attempt to blackmail the credit card processing firm.

The New York Times said it had been told by "a person close to the investigation" that an intruder contacted Creditcards.com after breaking its site, and after a demand for money was refused, published the credit card data on the Internet earlier this week.

A spokesman for Creditcards.com, Laurent Jean, told the New York Times, "We are aware of the issues and understand their severity, and also are in contact with the FBI."

Details of the three sites which carried the credit card information, which have since been pulled down, were included in a widely circulated email. This email, which had a spoofed address so that it appeared to come from Microsoft, mocked the security of Creditcard.com and described it as today's "TOP Unsecure Company".

The email said: "We represent a group of experts trying to save you from companies, which do not care about their clients. For your attention we have designed the 'Never trust companies' list."

The message, which is signed by the previously unknown L33chWareZ haCkInG Gr0Up, adds: "Any simple hacker can get into Creditcards.com where your confident information stored."

US reports suggest that the Creditcards.com site was broken into four months ago but despite this the firm failed to notify individual card holders that their details might have been compromised.

Los Angeles-based Creditcards.com sets up merchants accounts that allow businesses to accept payment for ecommerce transactions via credit cards. Customers need not have visited CreditCards.com to have become the unwitting victims of the incident, anyone who used an affiliated merchant (a list of which was removed form CreditCards.com site but available here, could also have had their credit card details compromised.

The case is not the first time extortionists have targeted web sites they have successfully broken into. In January a Russian cracker who claimed to have stolen 300,000 credit cards from CDuniverse.com posted their details on his site after unsuccessfully demanding $100,000.

Credit card issuer Visa was itself subject to a £10 million extortion attempt by what were believed to be British hackers. ®

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