It was five years ago today... Anyone who has ever used a credit card online must be familiar with that slight twinge of uneasiness, that "what if these details ever leaked out into the public domain" moment. And here's why:
By Tim Richardson
Published Monday 5th July 1999 13:31 GMT
The names, addresses and credit card details of around half a dozen people have been published on the Net after a redundant site was hacked at the weekend. The site belonged to Ecstatic, a virtual marketing company that sold radiation shields for mobile phones before ceasing trading last month.
Ecstatic's MD, Rash Naggar, is today trying to contact those involved to warn them that their personal details have been published. Naggar said he was told about the security breach on Saturday. He also received a number of nuisance calls over the weekend, although he said he has no idea who was behind them. Barry Ricketts, a former consultant at Ecstatic and one of the names published was audibly shaken by the experience. He questioned the security of the site - a view vigorously denied by London-based company NetDirect Internet which ran the site on behalf of Ecstatic. "We were sold the VeriSign server by NetDirect at considerable expense," said Ricketts.
But in a statement from NetDirect, the ISP has put the source of the blame firmly at the feet of Ecstatic. "We have spoken to the customer, Mr Rash Naggar, who ceased retail trading in June and dismissed the employees of Ecstatic. We have been informed that there may have been a breach of security at the customer end. "We cannot be held responsible for the actions of disgruntled employees of Ecstatic who had access to passwords," it said. Details of the security breach were publicised by self-confessed hacker David Habanec, although he maintains he did not break into the site.
Of course, we'd all like to believe this sort of cock-up is a thing of the past, but then we are reminded of the recent case of Softbank which rather magnificently managed to leak the details of four million broadband punters. However, instead of kicking off a round of bitter recriminations and name-calling, Softbank execs immediately executed a 50 per cent salary cut for themselves, as is the local custom.
The moral of the story is this: cut up the card and deal only in cash - just be careful that you don't get stiffed at the cashpoint. ®