http://www.sunday-times.co.uk/news/pages/sti/2001/08/26/stinwenws01006.html By: Guy Dennis and Edin Hamzic August 26, 2001 TENS of thousands of consumers have unknowingly had their credit card details intercepted by high-tech criminal gangs, a government security agency has revealed. Datastreaming, a new and fast-growing crime, involves hacking into the computer systems of high street retailers and stealing credit card details in bulk. Earlier forms of the fraud usually affected just one or two cardholders at a time. The new scam has contributed to Britain's position as the worst country in Europe for credit card fraud. The total lost to criminals last year was 300m according to the Association of Payment Clearing Services (Apacs), an increase of 55% on 1999. This year, it is expected to reach 400m. The National Criminal Intelligence Service (NCIS) says the first known attack in Britain took place 18 months ago. Since then it has been notified of six other security breaches in which tens of thousands of card details were taken. Many more attacks have probably gone unreported because businesses fear customers will desert them if such incidents are publicised. In the largest reported case, several thousand credit card details were taken from a train operating company, said Andrew Brown, an intelligence officer for NCIS's counterfeit section. "It took some time to identify where the systems were being compromised. We watched the number of compromises grow because we had to identify the weaknesses the hackers were exploiting." Most banks do not inform customers when their card details are stolen by datastreaming. They argue that the large number taken at any one time means that not all will be used for fraud. Instead, banks compensate customers when their cards are fraudulently used. Britain is targeted by international gangs partly because it has the largest card traffic in Europe. There are 127m credit, debit and Cashpoint cards in circulation. Critics have accused banks and retailers of failing to introduce more secure systems because of the high cost. - ISN is currently hosted by Attrition.org To unsubscribe email majordomoat_private with 'unsubscribe isn' in the BODY of the mail.
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