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Internet Fraud Reporting System Launched

What do the FBI, Microsoft and the American Bankers Association all have in common? Answer: they're all collaborating against online fraud.

Those organizations, and more, have joined Internet Fraud Alert, a new program for alerting institutions to data breaches. The program was launched on Thursday using technology from Microsoft that enables companies and institutions to get reports when user accounts are compromised. Breached data might include user names, passwords and credit card numbers that hackers might use to perpetrate fraud.

No easy method to alert institutions existed before the release of Internet Fraud Alert, according to Microsoft's announcement.

Microsoft has contributed its Internet Fraud Alert solution to the National Cyber-Forensics and Training Alliance (NCFTA), which will manage the program. The NCFTA is a nonprofit organization consisting of the FBI, the Cyber Initiative and Resource Fusion Unit, four universities, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and various corporations, including Microsoft. The main activity of NCFTA participants is to share information about Internet security fraud threats.

"Partners come to the NCFTA prepared to share information in a manner that respects the privacy, data integrity and diversity of every contributor," according to the NCFTA Web site. "In return, the NCFTA provides an array of highly specialized products and services that help its partners reduce current and future fraud."

In addition, Accuity -- an NCFTA member and provider of global payment routing data -- has donated a solution to the NCFTA that helps to verify the institutions participating in the program.

The Internet Fraud Alert program is designed to facilitate secure communications about phishing scams or hacks for the "stakeholders" in the program, such as financial institutions, retailers and service providers. Possibly, the program may squelch embarrassing "bad PR" through its private alert system. For instance, last week, Goatse Security publicly reported that the e-mail addresses of thousands of AT&T iPad 3G users could be viewed on AT&T's Web site by using a program.

Other participating organizations in the Internet Fraud Alert program include the "Anti-Phishing Working Group, Citizens Bank, eBay Inc., Federal Trade Commission, National Consumers League and PayPal," according to Microsoft's announcement.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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