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Hackers Attack Illegally Running Credit Card Processing Firm

Researchers from security company Trend Micro report that hackers have invaded 'The operation,' an illegally running clearing house which processes credit cards.

'The operation,' which supports 'Fethard' a facilitator of anonymous payments, treats payments from credit cards for several suppliers of scareware i.e. fake anti-virus, high level pornography websites and illegitimate pharmaceuticals that are promoted through spam. The official headquarters of 'The operation' is situated in Amsterdam (Holland).

States a declaration by the hackers, they penetrated a server hosting the firm's website on July 23, 2010 and posted data online containing recorded telephone conversations and employee e-mails. In one such conversation, the speakers talked about the different methods of swindling prominent credit card firms, while in another, the speakers discussed about Fethard, whose activities mostly relate to cyber-criminals' operations, particularly money laundering.

When the hack occurred, there was no clear understanding of the compromise with respect to its extent. But when security researchers examine the published data they state with conviction that it's quite plausible to do the kind of compromise.

Moreover, Trend Micro stated that the data pertaining to the anonymous payment card processor checks out that though it's registered in Holland, it in reality operates from Latvia and Russia. The company serves lawful clients in Russia, but it also caters to the more dishonest customers so that it could maintain the continuity of its business ever-since a cyber-crime incident victimized it some years back.

Additionally, it's assumed that one individual responsible for 'The operation' is also an owner of Fethard. In the same way this individual has been connected with crutop.nu, which serves as a junk e-mail forum.

Elaborating as to why 'The operation' has taken onto illegitimate business, Feike Hacquebord a researcher at Trend Micro stated that during 2007, someone stole a huge amount of money from Fethard's coffers. Consequently, problems emerged which probably prompted the parent firm to move even further into the operations of cyber-crime. The Register published this on August 16, 2010.

Hacquebord further said that the hacking incident could possibly shake many cyber-criminals. However, it also put legitimate customers' personal data in danger, he concluded.

Related article: Hackers Redirect Windows Live Search to Malicious Sites

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