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Extortionists hit US credit card firm

A US credit card processing firm has been hit by intermittend and large-scale distributed denial-of-service attacks that have disrupted services.

Authorize.Net is owned by Lightbridge and provides payment processing services for more than 91,000 small to medium-sized e-commerce firms. 

David Schwartz, the company's marketing director, said Authorize.Net has been the subject of a massive DDoS attack that targeted the company's payment gateway service and resulted in periods of "brief disruptions" for customers. 

The company received an extortion demand a few days before the attacks began, asking for a "substantial amount of money", Schwartz said.

 "It was sent to our general mailbox," Schwartz said. Law enforcement authorities, including the FBI, are investigating. 

This is not the first time Authorize.Net has been the subject of such attacks, Schwartz said. "We have been attacked in the past, but not on this scale and with such tenacity," he said. 

The attack has resulted in an extremely high number of calls to the company's customer support center, the company said. 

The attack is the latest example of a growing trend, said Tom Corn, a vice-president at Mazu Network, a supplier of DDoS-mitigation technologies. 

Jaikumar Vijayan writes for Computerworld


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