Load security or expect a hack

Hackers have downloaded thousands of credit card numbers from ecommerce sites using Microsoft's internet software, but local execs say end users are just not using the gear properly.

Last week IDG discovered US wireless phone seller Promobility had between 50,000 and 70,000 credit-card numbers downloaded from its Microsoft Internet Information Server (IIS)-driven Websites.

The hacker, who called himself Curador, posted credit card numbers from the Websites of Promobility -and several other ecommerce sites using IIS technology- over the internet.

While these hack attacks have caused ecommerce industry concern regarding the quality of security offered in the internet product, marketing manager for the software giant's local online group, Harvey Sanchez, pointed out that if ecommerce companies installed the IIS software correctly, the product would not have security holes.

"People confuse a product's features with how well they know how to use it," he said. "All the features are there for you to have high encryption, high security and algorithms that will be very difficult for anybody to hack into."

He agreed that a company running on IIS software without any of the provided security add-ons would remain vulnerable for "people to do anything they want".

Of smaller companies claiming not to have the technical resources or time to properly install the security software, he advised: "it's a matter of following a wizard".

Sanchez advised small companies not to store credit card information on their websites. "They should be using a gateway," he said. "If you're storing credit card details on your server, you are up for hacking, no matter high level the security."

"Even the largest merchant sites don't keep details of credit cards because they don't need them if they're processing through their gateway. If they're storing credit card details... as a consumer I would be very reluctant," he said.

According to Sanchez, Microsoft eighteen months ago released an SSL encryption upgrade patch for customers using IIS in conjunction with Windows NT 4. The patch was made available via Microsoft's website. However, Microsoft Australia was unable to reveal how many local IIS users had downloaded the patch.

Sanchez said Australian IIS users include Commonwealth Securities, D-Store, ToySpot.com.au, Wishlist.com.au, and Chaos music. He maintains no Australian Website using IIS has suffered from a hack attack.

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Byron Kaye

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