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The Details On A Pair Of Amazon D-DOS Crashes, Just One Presidential Term Late

Written by Evan Schuman
July 25th, 2012

Every four years, Americans elect a President, enjoy Leap Year and watch the Olympics. And the last time those things were happening—four years ago—Amazon may not have been perfect at thwarting D-DOS attacks. But even then, it was pretty good at protecting its card data. This comes from federal documents recently unsealed, documents that described three successful D-DOS attacks against Amazon, eBay and Priceline. The first Amazon attack happened on June 6, 2008, at 10:23 AM California time and continued for about four-and-a-half hours, until Amazon fought it off. “During the attack, the bots involved in the attack requested large and resource intensive Web pages on a magnitude of 600 percent to 1,000 percent of normal traffic levels,” according to the newly unsealed federal indictment of a pair of Moscow-based alleged cyberthieves.

Three days later, starting at 10:06 AM California time, the second D-DOS attack against Amazon began. This time, it took Amazon three days to fight it off. The filing also said one of the accused was found with data for more than 28,000 credit cards. But Emily Langlie, a spokesperson with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Washington, said none of the cards were from Amazon, eBay or Priceline, suggesting the payment-card protections did their job.


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Why Did Gonzales Hackers Like European Cards So Much Better?

I am still unclear about the core point here-- why higher value of European cards. Supply and demand, yes, makes sense. But the fact that the cards were chip and pin (EMV) should make them less valuable because that demonstrably reduces the ability to use them fraudulently. Did the author mean that the chip and pin cards could be used in a country where EMV is not implemented--the US--and this mis-match make it easier to us them since the issuing banks may not have as robust anti-fraud controls as non-EMV banks because they assumed EMV would do the fraud prevention for them Read more...
Two possible reasons that I can think of and have seen in the past - 1) Cards issued by European banks when used online cross border don't usually support AVS checks. So, when a European card is used with a billing address that's in the US, an ecom merchant wouldn't necessarily know that the shipping zip code doesn't match the billing code. 2) Also, in offline chip countries the card determines whether or not a transaction is approved, not the issuer. In my experience, European issuers haven't developed the same checks on authorization requests as US issuers. So, these cards might be more valuable because they are more likely to get approved. Read more...
A smart card slot in terminals doesn't mean there is a reader or that the reader is activated. Then, activated reader or not, the U.S. processors don't have apps certified or ready to load into those terminals to accept and process smart card transactions just yet. Don't get your card(t) before the terminal (horse). Read more...
The marketplace does speak. More fraud capacity translates to higher value for the stolen data. Because nearly 100% of all US transactions are authorized online in real time, we have less fraud regardless of whether the card is Magstripe only or chip and PIn. Hence, $10 prices for US cards vs $25 for the European counterparts. Read more...
@David True. The European cards have both an EMV chip AND a mag stripe. Europeans may generally use the chip for their transactions, but the insecure stripe remains vulnerable to skimming, whether it be from a false front on an ATM or a dishonest waiter with a handheld skimmer. If their stripe is skimmed, the track data can still be cloned and used fraudulently in the United States. If European banks only detect fraud from 9-5 GMT, that might explain why American criminals prefer them over American bank issued cards, who have fraud detection in place 24x7. Read more...

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