28 December 2011

Thousands warned of charity hacking threat

Thousands of companies have been put on alert for cybercrime after hackers stole personal data and credit card details held by a US security company, and threatened to make public the client list of at least one other organisation this week.

British companies including BT, BAE Systems, Barclays and HSBC were among the organisations whose details were leaked to the internet, alongside organisations such as Apple, Microsoft, Coca-Cola and Google.

Anonymous, the loose-knit hacking network known for its repeated, politically motivated attacks on corporations, claimed on Christmas day it would use the stolen details to make $1m worth of donations to charities. Several clients of Stratfor, the Texas-based private security company, confirmed that their accounts had been used for unauthorised transactions to charities such as the Red Cross and Save the Children.

Save the Children and the Red Cross have promised to refund any fraudulent donations, and some charities are worried they will be left out of pocket because of chargeback fees and the administrative burden of returning the money.

Hackers said they next planned to publish the entire corporate database of an online military supply store, and Twitter messages suggested Stratfor was just the first in a long list of targets over the Christmas period.

A tweet from @AnonymousIRC, an account associated with the hackers, said: “#Antisec has enough targets lined up to extend the fun fun fun of #LulzXmas throught [sic] the entire next week.”

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