Microsoft launches fraud alert service

Online fraud

Microsoft has launched a new Internet Fraud Alert service that will quickly inform businesses when details from the firm have been accessed without authorisation.

The alert service is available immediately, with Microsoft claiming it is an industry first. According to the Redmond giant, there has never been a simple way for security researchers to inform service providers or affected companies when an attack hits.

The Internet Fraud Alerts will be effective in allowing researchers to report stolen data, such as credit card information or login details, directly to the organisation running the account, the tech giant said.

Microsoft has now donated the new tool to the National Cyber-Forensics and Training Alliance (NCFTA), a non-profit organisation that seeks to unite industry, law enforcement and the academic world on cyber security issues.

"The NCFTA is honored to manage this one-ofa-kind program as it is vital to the interests of our partners and consistent with our mission. This program will enable the expeditious identification of current and emerging threats, which is key to the mitigation of compromised data," said president and chief executive of the NCFTA Ron Plesco, in a statement.

Microsoft has hooked up with a number of other big names for the project, including the Anti-Phishing Working Group, eBay and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

"Internet Fraud Alert is a promising and innovative approach to help financial and online institutions discover hijacked accounts and close them or inform the affected consumers," added Chuck Harwood, deputy director of the FTC.

"We hope that someday there won't be a need for a secure database of stolen account credentials."

The news comes just days after a British security researcher discovered a zero-day flaw in Microsoft's Windows XP operating system, which could have allowed hackers to take control of PCs.

Tom Brewster

Tom Brewster is currently an associate editor at Forbes and an award-winning journalist who covers cyber security, surveillance, and privacy. Starting his career at ITPro as a staff writer and working up to a senior staff writer role, Tom has been covering the tech industry for more than ten years and is considered one of the leading journalists in his specialism.

He is a proud alum of the University of Sheffield where he secured an undergraduate degree in English Literature before undertaking a certification from General Assembly in web development.