Microsoft fights online fraud with new program

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Microsoft released a new program that will help mitigate potential losses due to online fraud and account compromise.

Internet Fraud Alert offers a trusted and effective mechanism for participating researchers to report stolen account credentials discovered online — such as username and password login information for online services or compromised credit card numbers — to the appropriate institution responsible for that account.

Through a centralized alerting system powered by Microsoft technology developed specifically for this program, Internet Fraud Alert will quickly inform companies about compromised credentials, allowing them to take the appropriate action to help protect their customers.

For this program, Microsoft joined forces with the National Cyber-Forensics and Training Alliance (NCFTA), with the support of Accuity, the American Bankers Association, Anti-Phishing Working Group, Citizens Bank, eBay, Federal Trade Commission, National Consumers League and PayPal.

Internet Fraud Alert will serve the much-needed purpose of enabling security researchers and investigators to more securely and systematically share information with service providers, retailers, financial institutions and government entities about incidents where compromised account credentials have been discovered. To date, when the security community uncovers compromised credentials stemming from phishing attacks, for example, there has been no simple mechanism to warn the service provider or bank about the exposed credentials.

Phishing and malicious code attacks pose a serious threat to consumer identity and account credentials. In 2009, the Anti-Phishing Working Group received more than 410,000 unique phishing e-mail reports, and recent data from the group show that the number of brands being exploited by phishers is at an all-time high.

Internet Fraud Alert will bring together a wide assortment of stakeholders, including retailers, financial institutions, service providers, technology companies, academic researchers, consumer advocates and government agencies, in the shared interest of reducing online fraud and protecting consumers.

As the technology creator and sponsor, Microsoft is donating the tool to the NCFTA, a nonprofit organization dedicated to facilitating public-private partnerships between industry, law enforcement and academia on cybersecurity issues. Accuity has donated a solution to assist NCFTA with the vetting of trusted institutions for participation in the program to help ensure the integrity of the alerting process.