Security Watch

By Lindenmayer, Isabelle | American Banker, March 31, 2006 | Go to article overview
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Security Watch

Lindenmayer, Isabelle, American Banker


The House Energy and Commerce Committee passed a data security bill Wednesday that would give the Federal Trade Commission oversight of all companies that handle sensitive consumer information, rather than giving it to banking and thrift regulators.

The bill is at odds with one the House Financial Services Committee passed this month that would give banking regulators the enforcement authority.

The House Commerce bill also has a lower threshold for when customers must be notified of a breach, and it would let consumers correct customer files and give enforcement authority to state attorneys general -- two provisions the financial services industry opposes.

Other committees have introduced their own bills or are expected to do so. The Republican House leaders must decide which bill should win out, or if they should be combined.

The Council of Better Business Bureaus, along with Visa U.S.A., Equifax Inc., International Business Machines Corp., Verizon Communications Inc., eBay Inc., and its PayPal Inc., launched an effort on Monday to help small businesses beef up their data security procedures.

At a press conference in Washington for the new program, Lydia Parnes, the director of the FTC's bureau of consumer protection, said her agency would bring enforcement actions against small businesses that do not have adequate policies and procedures to protect consumer data.


Three Florida banks, Premier Bank, Wakulla Bank, and Capital City Bank, have had their Web sites hacked in an attack that security experts say is the first of its kind.

Hackers broke into servers run by the Internet service provider that runs the three banks' sites, redirected the traffic to a bogus server, and stole credit card and PIN numbers, along with other personal information on the banks' customers.

Though the scam affected fewer than 20 customers, the ability of fraudsters to link a bogus server to a legitimate Web site is a troubling development, Computerworld reported Wednesday.

Fraudsters have been targeting large banks recently, but that could be changing, as small ones can sometimes make easier targets, the magazine reported.

More traditional scammers are targeting soccer fans. Customers at a number of Brazilian banks have received bogus e-mails claiming to be from MasterCard International and offering free travel and tickets to this summer's Fifa World Cup tournament in Germany. Clicking on the link to claim the prize downloads a keylogger to the user's computer.

The scam has targeted customers of Banco Bradesco, Banco Itau, Unibanco, Banco Real, and Caixa, Computerworld reported Monday.

People who put classified ads in The Washington Post have also fallen victim to a crafty scam.

A woman posing as a Post employee tricked them into turning over their credit card numbers and ran up thousands of dollars in fraudulent charges, according to an indictment handed up Tuesday in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia.

Shante Buchanan allegedly called the advertisers claiming their credit card numbers had not gone through and offering to run them again. Ms. Buchanan then used the card numbers or the advertisers' information to open credit cards for herself and made purchases from December 2004 through January of this year, the Post reported Thursday.

At least 50 people fell for the scam, according to the Post, which said it now gives advertisers a unique identification number to prevent such a scam from occurring again.

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Security Watch


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