Hackers supporting Wikileaks distribute phoney MasterCard details

The deepening conflict between the activists who are hacking various major corporate websites and the authorities has taken a troubling turn, as it was announced that payment card details were stolen and then published.

Over 10,000 users of MasterCard were allegedly affected by the data theft, although the veracity of the published details was quickly denied by a spokesperson for the payment card firm, who claimed that the group of hackers, known by the name Anonymous, had faked the leak in order to stir up trouble and gain publicity for their cause.

While the card details may have been false, the implications are serious and the group has been undeniably successful in its aims of causing widespread problems for corporate entities, through the use of distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks.

MasterCard’s rival payment card firm Visa has also come into the firing line and now the group has set its sights on net transaction site PayPal, because it stopped accepting donations towards whistle-blowing website Wikileaks.

The leaked payment card details included card numbers and expiry dates but among the 10,000 listings there were no cardholder names or personal details.

What gave the leaked data away as fake was the fact that none of the alleged card numbers provided by the hackers began with the number five, which MasterCard spokesperson Chris Montero said was a common feature of all its payment cards.

Security expert, Claire Sellick, said that because attacks against sites linked with the Wikileaks scandal would continue it would be necessary for these major corporate entities to shore up their defences and limit the impact of DDoS.

It is recommended that these firms separate the provision of their internet service amongst multiple firms and harness different telephone exchanges rather than a single local option as this will make it virtually impossible for a focused DDoS attack of the kind that has been experienced in recent weeks.

Many are calling for businesses to limit the spread of private data so that it can be kept secure from prying eyes. It is also held that these first attacks by a collaborative, non-governmental hacking force show that cyber warfare can be a tool for any cause.

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