Understanding the Dangers of Credit Card Data Leaks | Prepaid365

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28 March 2014
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After a set of high profile credit card data leaks, concerns were raised that further releases could reveal an even greater amount of information.

So far, Anonymous Ukraine – an anti-American hacktivist group – is reportedly responsible for the leaking of more than seven million sets of credit card details.

The first data release saw nearly one million card details posted online, while a further six million followed in another release on Twitter.

Analysis from Risk Based Security revealed that Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Discover accounts were those to have been revealed.

Reportedly, the group has access to 800 million sets of credit cards data, of which 7,020,402 have so far been released according to the researchers.

The need to be watchful

While the majority of these cards are said to belong to Americans, there is a risk that people in other countries across the globe could also be at risk.

“Early indications show a substantial number of Visa and Mastercard accounts could potentially be at risk,” Risk Based Security researcher Inga Goddijn told SCMagazineUK.com.

Currently, there is no way of working out where the data has come from, although the nature of the revealed data would suggest an issue with an ATM or point of sale system.

A similar data breach in 2013 saw 110 million records accessed, highlighting the need for consumers to keep a watchful eye on their credit cards.

The reason for the data being revealed is not entirely clear, but it would not be the first time that a data breach was withheld to be used as part of a political agenda.

The breach of Sony’s security systems was one such example, while many of the compromised banks have already taken the steps of re-issuing vulnerable cards.

Options for customers

For customers in the UK, who fear they might be at risk from fraud, a number of options are available, although they should contact their bank first and foremost.

Help and advice will be able to put customers at ease while an alternative could be to place funds on a prepaid card.

Unlike credit and debit cards, prepaid cards are not directly linked to a bank account making fraudulent activity a lot more difficult.

For those with concerns over their funds, transferring some to a prepaid card can also help to control spending, as only the sums on the card can be spent.

The cards can however be topped up if necessary and can be replaced if they are lost or stolen without funds being affected.

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