Hackers Claim Data Theft on 800 Million Cards

Hackers Claim Data Theft on 800 Million Cards: Cybersecurity officials are still sizing up how much truth, if any, there is in a hacker group’s claim that it stole data on hundreds of millions of U.S. card accounts.

The group, calling itself Anonymous Ukraine, said last week that it has seized information related to 800 million U.S. credit and debit card accounts — including cards said to belong to President Obama and other political heavyweights. The group says it wants to harm the U.S. economy.

Two companies investigating the breach — Risk Based Security and Battelle — say they have been unable to verify that 800 million accounts, including those of the VIPs, have been compromised. And many of the records the group has produced as evidence of its theft are incomplete, out of date or fraudulent, the investigators say.

For that reason the threat doesn’t appear to be as serious as the Target breach, where hackers obtained 40 million valid, current cards. Still, the claims and any further releases of information need to be vetted, and they serve as a reminder of the constant vigilance and collaboration required of financial firms, officials say.

“I would continue watching posts from the group, and checking their data dumps for validity,” says Ernest Hampson, technical director for Battelle’s cyber intelligence and counterintelligence group.