Credit card 'flash attack' steals up to $500,000 a month

Credit card 'flash attack' steals up to $500,000 a month
Credit card 'flash attack' steals up to $500,000 a month

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By Dan Goodin in San Francisco
The Register
27th October 2010 

Credit card fraudsters may have pocketed as much as $500,000 over the 
past month by pursuing a new type of attack that exploits a major blind 
spot in payment processors' defenses, an analyst said.

The "flash attacks" recruit hundreds of money mules who go to ATMs 
throughout the US and almost simultaneously withdraw relatively small 
sums of money from a single compromised account, according to Avivah 
Litan, vice president at market research firm Gartner, who follows the 
credit card industry. They then move on to a new account. At the end of 
the month, the heists can fetch as much as $500,000.

=E2=80=9CThe resulting cash transactions fly under the radar of existing fraud 
detection systems =E2=80=94 they are typically small amounts that don't raise 
any alarms,=E2=80=9D Litan blogged on Tuesday.

She has dubbed the method a =E2=80=9Cflash attack=E2=80=9D because as much as $100,000 
can be stolen in as little as 10 minutes.


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