Hackers in attack on RBS credit card firm
Date: November 08, 2003
COMPUTER hackers have attacked a company that processes online credit and debit card transactions for thousands of UK businesses, it has emerged.
WorldPay, which is part of Edinburgh-based Royal Bank of Scotland Group, said it had been bombarded with millions of bogus e-mails in the past couple of days, which had left the firm struggling to deal with genuine payments.
The Cambridge-based company has around 27,000 clients of all sizes around the world, ranging from blue-chip heavyweights such as Vodafone and Sony Music Entertainment to numerous small online retailers. The bulk of its clients are located in the UK and mainland Europe, and payment requests from websites are normally sent in via e-mail.
The firm said a massive number of messages from elsewhere had come in to the same address over a 24-hour period. As a result, transaction requests have either crashed or been slowed down.
However, it appears those behind the e-mails - which originate in the Ukraine - have set out to disrupt business rather than attempt to commit fraud. WorldPay said it was putting alternative systems in place which should solve the problem.
In an e-mail sent to its customers, the firm said that "a co-ordinated effort by a third party" had left the networks surrounding its payment and administration systems "flooded with requests on a massive computer generated scale".
A company spokesperson said: "It is important to stress that the integrity of the WorldPay payment and administrative systems is intact and there has been no third party access or interference with customer or merchant data."
WorldPay operates in more than 70 countries and accepts payments on major credit cards including Visa, Mastercard, Diners and American Express. At the start of this year, Visa and Mastercard admitted a hacker had gained access to more than five million credit card accounts.
More recently, net provider PSINet and security firm PanSec International said an unprotected website they set up as part of a study was attacked about 2000 times a week over a two-month period.
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