Korean Report Puts The Number Of TJX Victims at 40 Million

Written by Evan Schuman
February 4th, 2007

The attribution in this Chosun Ilbo (a major Korean newspaper) story is a bit thin?as in ?The credit card industry announced Sunday,? which suggests the image of a stunningly crowded podium?but the essence of the story is still an interesting way to start the week.

It reports that the ?private data of around 10,000 Koreans who use credit cards associated with Visa, MasterCard and American Express was stolen? in the TJX incident.

?The credit card industry announced Sunday that an intruder had gained access to the databases of TJX Companies and stole sensitive information of about 40 million card users including 10,000 Koreans,? said the newspaper?s online story. ?This is the largest information leakage since 2005, when the networks of Visa and MasterCard were hacked, affecting 15,000 Koreans and 40 million more people around the world.?

TJX itself has avoided releasing the number of impacted customers. It?s unclear where the 40 million figure is coming other than this mysterious ?credit card industry announced Sunday.? But this is yet another interesting wrinkle in the story that won?t sleep.


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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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