MasterCard International reported yesterday that more than 40 million credit card accounts of all brands might have been exposed to fraud through a computer security breach at a payment processing company, perhaps the largest case of stolen consumer data to date. MasterCard said its analysts and law enforcement officials had identified a pattern of fraudulent charges that were traced to an intrusion at CardSystems Solutions of Tucson, Ariz., which processes more than $15 billion in payments for small to midsize merchants and financial institutions each year.
Oh, maaaan. We've been writing about every little incident leading up to this, so we can sit back and feel a little smug. Hell, one of our staffers has a spouse working for a Fortune 100 company, one of whose IT products there's a good chance you're using as we speak, whose data vendor LOST THE BACKUP TAPE along a truck-driver's pickup route. They got a year's free credit insurance. These companies are letting scruffy Latvian criminals--not even masterminds, mind you--basically nuke their industry. And it's their own damn fault. See my blog entry on dinner with Mitchnik and some folks who are probably having a very bad weekend right about now.
I'll bet Kevin is laughing his ass off. His jailers wouldn't let him have a telephone because they thought he could whistle into it and launch nuclear missiles on a submarine. He's a smart guy, but the fact is, he was really just a a commendably dedicated and motivated independent learner with a lot of enthusiasm for a subject most people kind of dry. And he's genuinely friendly and charming. That's all it takes to start nuclear armaggedon rolling, or the moral equivalent, which in Kevin's case was making a lot of free phone calls.
I'd be laughing my ass off too if not for the fact that my only piece of plastic is a MasterCard credit-debit from my bank. I'm REALLY going to have to close those accounts now. Maybe I should do like an old business contact I subcontracted for a few times--Russian-speaking ex-military guy--and only do business using e-gold. Tell my employer I want to be paid in platinum ingots or AK-47s. I'd probably pull in 100-200 AKs a month, depending on the vintage and manufacturer, and I could resell them to the janjaweed with a tidy margin. Ain't globalization cool?