Feeds

ID thieves bring ease of use to trafficking forums

Stolen info translated into German, Albanian and French at no additional cost

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

As cyber crime goes mainstream, a working knowledge of English is no longer a required skill for identity thieves trafficking in stolen credit card numbers and other personal data. Just ask Matthew Miller, a pharmacist from Pennsylvania, who recently learned miscreants had translated some of his personal details into French before blasting them out to a discussion group frequented by online con artists.

"I feel violated about that, quite frankly," Miller said shortly after seeing a screenshot that listed his "nom," "prenom" and other personal information translated so it could be consumed by those without a working understanding of English. "Anything that I have with my personal history would be accessible to these people."

Miller's case is hardly an isolated example.

Screenshot of chat session showing personal information translated into German

The above screenshot is part of a trend that started about nine months ago in which purloined information is translated into languages including French, German and Albanian to make it more appealing to would-be buyers. As soon as a victim is tricked into entering the details on a phishing site, a CGI script converts the fields when compiling a database.

In addition to name, address, date of birth and credit card and CVV2 numbers, many of the entries also include the victim's social security number and mother's maiden name, as was the case with Miller.

"Right now, it seems like everybody in the world knows my social security number," Miller said.

He said he fell "hook, line and sinker" for an eBay phishing scam about 12 months ago and was in the process of rehabilitating his identity when his personal information was misappropriated again in May.

With so many of traffickers speaking a native language other than English, it's only natural that databases would provide better ease of use, according to Dan Clements, president of CardCops, a division of the Affinion Group that monitors online forums for stolen credit card information. Being located in places far out of reach of most US-based law enforcement agencies means they aren't likely to be stopped anytime soon.

"They're on foreign soil, and their drilling down on America and they have the ability to drill down on America indefinitely," Clements said. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
14 antivirus apps found to have security problems
Vendors just don't care, says researcher, after finding basic boo-boos in security software
'Things' on the Internet-of-things have 25 vulnerabilities apiece
Leaking sprinklers, overheated thermostats and picked locks all online
Only '3% of web servers in top corps' fully fixed after Heartbleed snafu
Just slapping a patched OpenSSL on a machine ain't going to cut it, we're told
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
Israel's Iron Dome missile tech stolen by Chinese hackers
Corporate raiders Comment Crew fingered for attacks
Roll out the welcome mat to hackers and crackers
Security chap pens guide to bug bounty programs that won't fail like Yahoo!'s
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Researcher sat on critical IE bugs for THREE YEARS
VUPEN waited for Pwn2Own cash while IE's sandbox leaked
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.