Hackers hunt hackers in credit card company compromise


A group of hackers has published information about potentially illicit activities at an online credit card processor company.

The anonymous crew claimed to have compromised a server of the unnamed credit card processing company, taking data from employee emails and recorded phone calls, according to Trend Micro's TrendLabs team.

One recorded conversation discussed defrauding major credit card companies, while another mentioned Fethard - a payment service that has been associated with cyber crime activities such as money laundering.

It has also been suggested that the compromised company is the parent of Fethard, through which payments for fake anti-virus products and extreme pornography have been processed, the researchers said.

"There are assumptions that one of the people behind the credit card processor company also serves as one of the Fethard's owners," Feike Hacquebord, an advanced threat researcher at TrendLabs, reported in a blog post.

"In 2007, a large sum of money was stolen from Fethard's funds. This has undoubtedly created problems for Fethard and has possibly pulled the mother company deeper into the cyber crime business."

Despite the links to illicit activities, the company also carries out legitimate business, with official headquarters located in Amsterdam and a number of customers in Russia as well, Hacquebord said.

"This hacking incident would probably make a lot of cyber criminals nervous. Unfortunately, the incident also puts the personal data of legitimate customers and of many ordinary Russians at risk," Hacquebord added.

No motivation for the compromise has been forthcoming, although a rival gang could be behind the attack, or ethical hackers looking to make their mark.

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.