Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Fraudsters Find Holes in Debit Card Fraud Detection

Jeremy Kirk writes on ComputerWorld:

Over the last few weeks, criminals have been exploiting weak fraud detection systems used for debit cards with "flash" attacks, where hundreds of withdrawals are made over a very short period of time.

Banking executives have noticed a rise in such attacks, where fraudsters withdraw money throughout a wide region within a span of just minutes, said Avivah Litan, a vice president at Gartner who frequently consults with banks about fraud issues.

"The fraud happens within 10 minutes in these geographic diverse locations," she said.

The amounts withdrawn are usually within a range that would not immediately raise a red flag, Litan said. She said a Canadian banker she recently spoke with said they noticed withdrawals from 100 ATMs all over Canada within 10 minutes.

The pattern is particularly interesting since it means that the criminal gangs are clearly coordinating the timing of the withdrawals using money mules, or people who are hired to do the risky job of taking a fraudulent payment cards to ATMs that are often under video surveillance.

More here.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Judge: Free Speech Protects Amazon Buyers' Data

An AP newswire article by Emery P. Dalesio, via, reports that:

Lists that identify the books, music and movies individual customers bought from online retailer are protected from North Carolina tax collectors, a federal judge has ruled.

Amazon said in a lawsuit it filed in April in its hometown of Seattle that disclosing the names, addresses and purchases of its customers as requested by the North Carolina Revenue Department would harm anyone who may have bought controversial books or movies.

U.S. District Judge Marsha Pechman ruled late Monday that the First Amendment protects a buyer from the government demanding to know the books, music, and audiovisual products they've bought.

Amazon and the American Civil Liberties Union, which later joined the case, "have established that the First Amendment protects the disclosure of individual's reading, listening, and viewing habits," Pechman wrote.

"The ACLU is not taking issue with the department's authority to collect taxes on these purchases, but there is no legitimate reason why government officials need to know which North Carolina residents are reading which books or purchasing which specific brands of products," said Katy Parker, legal director for the ACLU of North Carolina Legal Foundation.

More here.