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Virus creators run online credit card scam

Tuesday 30 March 2004 13:06 CET | News

Internet security experts have warned that the creators of some of the latest computer viruses were using computers infected by the bugs to run online scams to get credit card information from unsuspecting buyers.

Many of the recent bugs open a so-called back door on infected computers, giving their creators access to the contaminated machines without the owners knowledge. It was first believed that these back doors were mainly used to distribute spam, or unsolicited bulk e-mail advertisements, but in principle they could be used for all kinds of malicious purposes, including fraud, experts said. To avoid being traced, the websites move from computer to computer, leaving buyers with no other real information than the Internet Protocol (IP) address of the infected machine that registered their credit card information. Many Internet connections also change IP addresses all the time, and the owner of the infected computer has in any case no idea what is going on. Many of the fraudulent websites appear to be legitimate online software vendors, offering popular computer programs for a fraction of their real price, and often their services are advertised through spam messages. An unsuspecting buyer would have little chance of realizing that he is dealing with an online racket and not the real thing. One should closely examine any website which offers unbelievably cheap software before buying anything. Often people buying goods through such fraudulent websites do not know they have been cheated before their purchase fails to show up on their doorstep, despite the fact that their credit card has been charged for it. Other websites just save the credit card information without charging the account, keeping it for later use. One Russian criminal organisation tried a few years ago to get more than a million euros (1.21 million dollars) by using illicitly obtained credit card information on a real online store they had set up, Laine said. By using the credit card numbers to generate phony sales, they unsuccessfully tried to collect the money from the false transactions directly from the credit card companies. Yet, others just use the information to buy stuff for themselves online, he noted. The fact that the online fraudsters now use infected home computers to run their online rackets makes it significantly more difficult to track them down however, analysts concluded.


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Categories: Payments & Commerce | Payments General
Countries: World
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