Hackers are brute-force guessing payment card numbers, and there's nothing you can do...

Shawn Knight

Posts: 13,766   +141
Staff member
Facepalm: Criminals have several ways of getting their hands on credit and debit card information, but one attack method is particularly alarming as victims are virtually defenseless. Even if you do everything by the book and adhere to all safety precautions, there's still a chance that someone could outright guess your account details using brute force.

NordVPN recently partnered with independent cybersecurity researchers to analyze a database of nearly 4.5 million payment cards for sale on the dark web.

The VPN service provider found that the majority of cards – 1,561,739, to be exact – were from the US. In this region, Visa cards were the most common, followed by Mastercard and American Express. Worse yet, the average cost to buy the details of a US-based card was just $5.81.

Globally, debit cards were more common on the dark web than credit cards in the data the researchers surveyed. According to NordVPN, this is because hacked debit cards tend to have fewer protections in place to protect victims compared to credit cards.

Arguably even more alarming is how hackers are obtaining card details. Database breaches are still a viable route, but hackers are now able to brute force – or guess – payment card details. NordVPN notes that most systems limit the number of guesses that can be made in a short period of time, but adds that savvy hackers can get around this.

Most major payment cards have 16 digits, which may seem pretty secure length-wise. What you may not know is that there are standards for account numbers, and several digits on your card are identifiers that aren’t unique to your individual account. This means hackers have even fewer numbers they need to guess to find a “winning” combination.

Unfortunately, there’s not a whole lot consumers can do to protect themselves from a brute-force attack like this short of abstaining from card use entirely. NordVPN says your best line of defense is to remain vigilant and check your monthly statement for suspicious activity.

Image credit Pixabay

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noel24

Posts: 781   +984
In the meantime, Google's YouTube, at least in EU, when verifing Your age, is asking either for Your ID photocopy, or Your credit card number, enough to take a "payday loan" in smaller financial institutions here.

So why bother, if the biggest scammer is the global corporation?
 

yRaz

Posts: 4,031   +4,397
You shouldn't be using your debt card anyways. You should nearly always use a Credit Card and pay it off monthly. Get your rewards and get your free protection from fraud.

Just keep your debt card turned off for usage.
And this comment shows the disconnect between financial classes. While I'm lucky enough to have good credit and several cards, something as simple as outstanding medical debt will outright deny you a credit card. Sometimes your only option is a debit card and that's if the American banking system allows you to have a bank account. It's pretty difficult to work your way out of poverty when you don't even make enough money to update your address nonetheless buy a car to get that better job.

Hell, you can be denied housing and a job based on your credit score. It's highly illegal, but the people who get denied for those reasons aren't exactly in a position to hire attorneys.
 

Plutoisaplanet

Posts: 595   +974
And this comment shows the disconnect between financial classes. While I'm lucky enough to have good credit and several cards, something as simple as outstanding medical debt will outright deny you a credit card. Sometimes your only option is a debit card and that's if the American banking system allows you to have a bank account. It's pretty difficult to work your way out of poverty when you don't even make enough money to update your address nonetheless buy a car to get that better job.

Hell, you can be denied housing and a job based on your credit score. It's highly illegal, but the people who get denied for those reasons aren't exactly in a position to hire attorneys.
Is it illegal? If you have a crazy amount of debt, then for some jobs that’s a conflict of interest. Sometimes discrimination is illegal for a good reason (excluding protected classes such as race or religion).

Also if you have a history of not paying back the bank, then obviously they’re not going to give you a credit card to let you continue to take money without returning it. But you don’t have to use a credit card either to stay secure, there’s always cash, paypal, checks, ACH, and plenty of other payment methods. Basically all of these prevent you from spending money you don’t have.
 

DZillaXx

Posts: 436   +561
And this comment shows the disconnect between financial classes. While I'm lucky enough to have good credit and several cards, something as simple as outstanding medical debt will outright deny you a credit card. Sometimes your only option is a debit card and that's if the American banking system allows you to have a bank account. It's pretty difficult to work your way out of poverty when you don't even make enough money to update your address nonetheless buy a car to get that better job.

Hell, you can be denied housing and a job based on your credit score. It's highly illegal, but the people who get denied for those reasons aren't exactly in a position to hire attorneys.

As someone that worked their way out of poverty, there is a lot of misinformation here. When I was young I frequently had to work 60hr+ work weeks spread among 2-3 jobs, not getting overtime with any. That is what it took. Right now is a crazy time to be employed, as the options of making $15+ an hour are everywhere. They simply don't start people off at under $12 these days, and if you make less than that you simply need to quit as new hires are getting paid better than existing staff at many lower level jobs.

Working your way out of poverty is a means of personal will power. You can't do it if you don't make it happen yourself.

Anyone can get a CC, and I mean anyone. Anyone that thanks they can't have simply not done the research needed. A secured CC is pretty much a given that you'd be accepted, you gotta put money down to use. After 6-12 months it will moved from being a secured CC into a standard CC. This has nearly always been what people do after filling&completing Chapter 9.

Being responsible with the money you earn has always been important, and not learning how to play the system is an excuse.

I can tell you right now you don't need a $160 cell phone plan working at mcdonalds. A used $6-8k Car will get you to work just as well as a 30k used car. A 2-3 year old phone works just fine. You don't need cable just basic internet, and you are better off making your own meals than eating out every day. 2¢
 

bviktor

Posts: 615   +986
The article completely ignores 2FA solutions like 3-D Secure (VISA) or SecureCode (Mastercard), mandated in many places, my country included.

So yes, you can do a whole lot about this, you only need to use your brain.

Of course, there'll always be r*tarded countries that consider these measures "anti-competitive" (???), like Australia.
 

psycros

Posts: 3,827   +4,985
As someone that worked their way out of poverty, there is a lot of misinformation here. When I was young I frequently had to work 60hr+ work weeks spread among 2-3 jobs, not getting overtime with any. That is what it took. Right now is a crazy time to be employed, as the options of making $15+ an hour are everywhere. They simply don't start people off at under $12 these days, and if you make less than that you simply need to quit as new hires are getting paid better than existing staff at many lower level jobs.

Working your way out of poverty is a means of personal will power. You can't do it if you don't make it happen yourself.

Anyone can get a CC, and I mean anyone. Anyone that thanks they can't have simply not done the research needed. A secured CC is pretty much a given that you'd be accepted, you gotta put money down to use. After 6-12 months it will moved from being a secured CC into a standard CC. This has nearly always been what people do after filling&completing Chapter 9.

Being responsible with the money you earn has always been important, and not learning how to play the system is an excuse.

I can tell you right now you don't need a $160 cell phone plan working at mcdonalds. A used $6-8k Car will get you to work just as well as a 30k used car. A 2-3 year old phone works just fine. You don't need cable just basic internet, and you are better off making your own meals than eating out every day. 2¢

Where I live $10 an hour for entry-level is the norm. It will probably go up before too much longer because our ***** state is still paying a lot of people to sit on their behinds and not work. That's nothing to cheer about because ALL prices are going up. And who gets hurt the worst? People at the bottom of the socio-economic ladder.
 

yRaz

Posts: 4,031   +4,397
Is it illegal? If you have a crazy amount of debt, then for some jobs that’s a conflict of interest. Sometimes discrimination is illegal for a good reason (excluding protected classes such as race or religion).

Also if you have a history of not paying back the bank, then obviously they’re not going to give you a credit card to let you continue to take money without returning it. But you don’t have to use a credit card either to stay secure, there’s always cash, paypal, checks, ACH, and plenty of other payment methods. Basically all of these prevent you from spending money you don’t have.
Yes, it is illegal. I don't feel like writing all of this out so you can look it up in your own time. Also, we're talking about credit cards here. When I joined the union my credit was horrible but I'm now in the 780's.

Anyway, we're talking about why credit cards are impractical to use as a protective measure for many people.
As someone that worked their way out of poverty, there is a lot of misinformation here. When I was young I frequently had to work 60hr+ work weeks spread among 2-3 jobs, not getting overtime with any. That is what it took. Right now is a crazy time to be employed, as the options of making $15+ an hour are everywhere. They simply don't start people off at under $12 these days, and if you make less than that you simply need to quit as new hires are getting paid better than existing staff at many lower level jobs.

Working your way out of poverty is a means of personal will power. You can't do it if you don't make it happen yourself.

Anyone can get a CC, and I mean anyone. Anyone that thanks they can't have simply not done the research needed. A secured CC is pretty much a given that you'd be accepted, you gotta put money down to use. After 6-12 months it will moved from being a secured CC into a standard CC. This has nearly always been what people do after filling&completing Chapter 9.

Being responsible with the money you earn has always been important, and not learning how to play the system is an excuse.

I can tell you right now you don't need a $160 cell phone plan working at mcdonalds. A used $6-8k Car will get you to work just as well as a 30k used car. A 2-3 year old phone works just fine. You don't need cable just basic internet, and you are better off making your own meals than eating out every day. 2¢
Congrats sir, I started out poor and now I'm a union bridge builder that works all over the east coast. And even though I make $54/hr I still drive a 2005 honda CRV. People are making $15/hr now, as in this year. In my home state minimum wage is still $7.25/hr. And $15/hr is pennys in todays money. Food has doubled in home town, my rent has gone up 30% in the last year alone and people. In my state $15/hr after taxes is about $12.30. So I challenge you to find housing on a bus line(because we don't have a car yet in this scenario), pay for food, bills and a phone while also saving for a car.

As much as it pains me to say it, phones and broadband internet are a necessity in todays world. There are jobs I work on where I don't have a badge, they just scan my phone. You get in and out of secure areas simply by waving your phone over an NFC device. I actually find that hilarious because we aren't allowed to use our phones on the job. A simple case of where policy hasn't caught up to technology. And, yes, I do need to use my phone for work while I'm on the job quite frequently.

But to get back on topic, to apply for even a McDonalds job you need an internet connection and a phone. The days of going in and filling out a paper application are over. There was a pizza shop near me where they just handed out business cards with a QR code on them when you went to apply for a job.

The fact of the matter is the world we grew up in no longer exists. Simply being frugal and working hard is no longer enough. It's just an old world saying from those of us lucky enough to "get out" while we still could
 

seeprime

Posts: 646   +841
Is it illegal? If you have a crazy amount of debt, then for some jobs that’s a conflict of interest. Sometimes discrimination is illegal for a good reason (excluding protected classes such as race or religion).

Also if you have a history of not paying back the bank, then obviously they’re not going to give you a credit card to let you continue to take money without returning it. But you don’t have to use a credit card either to stay secure, there’s always cash, paypal, checks, ACH, and plenty of other payment methods. Basically all of these prevent you from spending money you don’t have.
Maybe it's illegal in the same way that driving slightly over the speed limit is. No one cares enough to do anything to stop you. If a banker tells someone that they don't quality for a loan, what is the person going to do, other then look elsewhere. It sucks that you basically need to have established credit to get credit cards.
 

DZillaXx

Posts: 436   +561
Congrats sir, I started out poor and now I'm a union bridge builder that works all over the east coast. And even though I make $54/hr I still drive a 2005 honda CRV. People are making $15/hr now, as in this year. In my home state minimum wage is still $7.25/hr. And $15/hr is pennys in todays money. Food has doubled in home town, my rent has gone up 30% in the last year alone and people. In my state $15/hr after taxes is about $12.30. So I challenge you to find housing on a bus line(because we don't have a car yet in this scenario), pay for food, bills and a phone while also saving for a car.

As much as it pains me to say it, phones and broadband internet are a necessity in todays world. There are jobs I work on where I don't have a badge, they just scan my phone. You get in and out of secure areas simply by waving your phone over an NFC device. I actually find that hilarious because we aren't allowed to use our phones on the job. A simple case of where policy hasn't caught up to technology. And, yes, I do need to use my phone for work while I'm on the job quite frequently.

But to get back on topic, to apply for even a McDonalds job you need an internet connection and a phone. The days of going in and filling out a paper application are over. There was a pizza shop near me where they just handed out business cards with a QR code on them when you went to apply for a job.

The fact of the matter is the world we grew up in no longer exists. Simply being frugal and working hard is no longer enough. It's just an old world saying from those of us lucky enough to "get out" while we still could

Electrical Trades myself.

I find it hard to believe that someone couldn't make it on $15/hr. As an entry level job for someone starting out, it is pretty decent money. Especially if you are living at home. Now if you are in your mid 40's still working entry level jobs, that is a you issue. You had plenty of time to move up.

My Wife is a CNA at a hospital while going to school to be a nurse. They get paid a crappy $16/hr, and she only avg's around 30-32hr a week. She has the family insurance and puts into her 401k, still gets $750 bi weekly. While that is a fraction of what I am paid, she also doesn't even work 40hr's. I could easily make that work now.... Hell I have one bedroom in one of my duplexes that I rent out at $650, and it is a pretty decent place with washer hookup.

Maybe in a big city rent is an issue, but you can find a small apartment or find a room to rent no issue for at or under 650 all day in my area (1hr from greater Chicago area). And unless you are starting your life, you should already have a car...

If you are starting life, leaving home is a poor investment. So is getting a fancy vehicle, or buying the latest iPhone.

I have the ATT 12month prepaid plan, that is 8GB of data a month + rollover. I have access to wifi nearly everywhere I go, but even when I don't data usage is not high. GPS, Email, etc doesn't eat up a lot of data. It ends up being less than $30 a month. I've never gone over. I simply download the Spotify music I use to my phone. GPS is the biggest one, and only when I travel. I just flew to Georgia to do some last minuet tie-ins into a PLC system. That entire trip was still under 1GB, including all the GPS and other wasted data I didnt need to use.

Anyone that needs unlimited data 90% of the time is lying or wastefully using data. Justifying a $130+ phone bill when you are barely making it is a excuse. That crap keeps poor people poor.

But for the avg young person, that most likely still lives at home. $15/hr is decent money and much much better than how it was for me starting out. I started my first job early 2009, making $7.25. Back then basic electrics where expensive, a small TV was still easily 400-500 bucks. Game consoles and games were expensive, and there was no sales like we have today. Sure they got cheaper over time, but these days new games are less than half the price even a month later. Cell Phones were super expensive, and so were the plans. And internet was not cheap, Netflix streaming was pretty new at the time iirc. Sure housing and food was cheaper, but entertainment and electronic goods were not. Gas prices then were still worse than it is ATM.
 

theruck

Posts: 487   +301
The article completely ignores 2FA solutions like 3-D Secure (VISA) or SecureCode (Mastercard), mandated in many places, my country included.

So yes, you can do a whole lot about this, you only need to use your brain.

Of course, there'll always be r*tarded countries that consider these measures "anti-competitive" (???), like Australia.
you have no idea how it works and man you would be surprised what is possible still in 2021
just one example for all - when was the last time you purchased something on amazon and it asked you for 2FA?
 

QuantumPhysics

Posts: 5,705   +6,516
My Debit Card has been hit 3 times over the past 10 years. Each time it was a small amount charged, and each time my card was shut down, the money refunded and a new card issued.

Let's see these hackers try and brute for my Apple Card.

Brand New card numbers in how long?

The push of a button?
 

dangh

Posts: 364   +551
you have no idea how it works and man you would be surprised what is possible still in 2021
just one example for all - when was the last time you purchased something on amazon and it asked you for 2FA?
For new card? Yes. And my bank requires authentication. Once saved, you can use it there on your account without providing 2fa each time. But that's not what this article is about. Each time I do card payment over internet to a new place, and cost is above, like 20 eur, there is cvv number and often bank authentication. And expiry date is always required.
 

Phaetos

Posts: 63   +54
I'm too lazy to quote each piece I want to respond to, so you will have to figure out who I'm addressing with my points.

$15/hr WAS decent money 5 yrs ago, in the last 2 years with inflation and runaway pricing on everything from bread to gas, even $15 isn't enough. Rent is also increasing in anywhere that is in a better part of most cities. Sure you can find cheap rent but the area is going to be trash. Now add in water, trash, phone, electricity, natural gas if that's the option for heating or cooking, and that's just the basics to survive, not including amenities like TV or internet or Netflix to use on your phone. Now $15/hr is completely unlivable, ask me how I know.

Fast food is hiring all over the place and advertising for $12-16/hr .. to FLIP BURGERS, but the majority or other jobs is retail. Retail pay hasn't decided to catch up with even fast food and you can be guaranteed you don't get full-time hours in retail, ask me how I know.

Some people still work fast food and retail as a full on adult for varying reasons. Maybe they are medically unable to do something else, maybe they just aren't mentally able to take on other career challenges, maybe they had medical issues and lost a better paying job and are starting over, maybe they were homeless and getting started again. There are plenty of options there. Sure, in most cases it's a choice to continue to be that way but you can't throw everyone into that bucket.

Someone mentioned a cheap car will get you to work just as much as a pricier car, true. Unfortunately today's society berates the weak willed/minded and the sheeple that their physical possessions MAKE who they are as a person to peers. So what happens? They buy cars they really can't afford. You also said we're better off making our own meals, again I agree. Making our own meals is fantastic, more people should, but eating healthy and making your own meals is expensive. Healthier food is always more expensive. Why? If everyone was healthy, the medical industry would go bankrupt other than severe cases of sickness. Food is expensive. I ran a little experiment with myself and my wife. We bought food for 2 weeks of making our own supper, then the next 2 weeks we just got food from fast food or other eating establishments for 2 weeks. Guess which one was cheaper? Eating out for 2 people everyday for supper for 2 weeks was cheaper.

There is much in society that needs to change and be addressed. Wages, inflation, societal "norms", banking, credit, all of it.

/rant over
 

trparky

Posts: 996   +1,103
Or as I have it set up; my credit union notifies me of every single transaction that happens against my cards via iOS Push Notifications. If I see anything wrong, I can immediately call them and deny the charge.

However, I've yet to have a bad charge get through what they refer to as one of the best anti-fraud systems in the industry.
 

DonquixoteIII

Posts: 106   +60
In order to 'brute force' the numbers, the hackers have to actually try the numbers against the owning bank / credit institution. It would be 'relatively' simple for these institutions to make this kind of 'hack' very difficult.

The bank I use has a very good anti-fraud system. I have only had one charge appear, and the bank notified me before I even saw the charge.
 
There are many security measures that prevents thief's from stealing your money that unfortunately are not implement in USA. So you should look what Romania's are doing. You need 3D secure authentication or validation of transactions through the bank app and they can guess as much as they want the PIN, CVC or CVC2 as it won't work.
 

wiyosaya

Posts: 7,005   +5,518
Best way to do it I would say. Just not all cards provide that. Yet.
It depends on the bank that issues the card.

Its the same thing with "one-time use" card numbers or card numbers that you can give to a specific site. I know Capitol One supports these and allows you to enable/disable them through an app or web site. Vendor specific numbers are helpful because then you know where a breach originated. (I don't have Capitol One's card, but I investigated it and they made it a pain to get one since I have a block on getting my credit reports. They listed who they used, and I lifted the block on that provider, sent them a letter and said the block was lifted, but they still denied my application anyway to which I promptly lifted my middle finger. Many companies have automated letter readers and I suspect that what happened was that one of the automated letter readers read my letter and improperly handled it.)