Sat, Feb 24, 2007 - Page 1 News List

So-net attempts to reassure customers after `hacker' report

STAFF WRITER

So-net Taiwan, an internet service provider formed in a joint venture between Japan's Sony and KG Telecommunications Co, assured customers yesterday that its services were secure following reports that Chinese hackers had stolen as many as 1,000 customers' credit card numbers and used them to make fraudulent purchases worth NT$5 million (US$152,000).

The Chinese-language United Daily News reported yesterday that hackers in China exploited weaknesses in the Internet service provider's system to net scores of sensitive numbers and other information.

The hackers used Trojan horse viruses to install key stroke recording software on computers and also created fake So-net Web pages to trick customers into inputting sensitive personal financial information such as credit card numbers, the report said.

CIB concerns

Criminal Investigation Bureau officials said yesterday that the breaches could lead to mass identity theft, while So-net scrambled to beef up its security.

The Chinatrust Commercial Bank, which handles transactions on behalf of So-net, panned the Internet service provider for its allegedly lax online security, saying the company should assume financial responsibility for the approximately 1,800 credit card numbers that were lifted off So-net's system.

Hackers also gained access to scores of names, identity numbers and contact information belonging to So-net customers, increasing the chances of further identity theft, the report added.

As a major local Internet service provider, So-net Taiwan operates many online shopping forums and games in addition to providing Internet protocol addresses to customers.

Secure

The company yesterday said its services were secure and met local online security standards, but admitted to an identity theft case involving its customers last year.

Although the number of affected customers in that case was small, the company said it was unable to comment further because investigations were ongoing, the report said.

So-net said services would not be affected by its ongoing efforts to increase security.

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