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New Internet Fraud Alert to Help Rescue Stolen Account Credentials


Microsoft technology powers early reporting system to help protect consumers and businesses from fraud.

WASHINGTON - Microsoft Corp. has 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 Inc., Federal Trade Commission, National Consumers League and PayPal, to release a new program that will help mitigate potential losses due to online fraud and account compromise. Launched today, Internet Fraud Alert will offer 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.

The program was unveiled today and will go into effect immediately. The first of its kind, Internet Fraud Alert represents an important step forward in fighting online fraud. It 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, a leading provider of global payment routing data, 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.

More information about Internet Fraud Alert can be found at Consumers interested in learning more about staying safe online and limiting the risk of identity theft can visit, and


The National Cyber-Forensics and Training Alliance was established to unite the technology industry, law enforcement, academia and private- and public-sector organizations to bring into focus the most significant online threats and identify the most effective and efficient early options for detecting and combating cybercrimes. A focal point of this project is the primary partnership established between the FBI, the NW3C, Carnegie Mellon University and West Virginia University.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

Note to editors: For more information, news and perspectives from Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft News Center at Web links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at time of publication, but may have changed. For additional assistance, journalists and analysts may contact Microsoft’s Rapid Response Team or other appropriate contacts listed at

Supporting Industry Quotes

“Those who traffic in stolen identities often use online tools to collect, share and profit from compromised account credentials, but those of us working to combat identity theft have a few tools of our own. By combining new technology and critical partnerships, Internet Fraud Alert helps alert institutions to stolen credentials so they can take action to combat fraud. The Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit is proud to be working with the National Cyber-Forensics and Training Alliance and everyone joining with us today to announce this valuable new tool in the fight against cybercrime.”

—Nancy Anderson

Corporate Vice President and Deputy General Counsel

Microsoft Corp.

“The NCFTA is honored to manage this one-of–a-kind program as it is vital to the interests of our partners and consistent with our mission. This program will enable the expeditious identification of current and emerging threats, which is key to the mitigation of compromised data.”

—Ron Plesco

President and CEO


“Modern commerce depends on a trustworthy online marketplace, but, unfortunately, there will always be people trying to defraud consumers and erode trust in that system. Accuity has spent over a century earning the trust of financial institutions around the world. As a contributor to the Internet Fraud Alert program, we value the opportunity to extend that trust and be part of taking this significant step forward in helping to protect and ensure the integrity of the online marketplace.”

—Hugh Jones

President and CEO


“Internet Fraud Alert will provide a vital link between those who find suspected compromised customer data in the course of their investigations or business and the National Cyber-Forensics and Training Alliance, who then can protect that customer from potential harm. ABA welcomes the opportunity to play a role in strengthening this link between law enforcement and business, particularly for community banks.”

—Doug Johnson

Vice President of Risk Management Policy

American Bankers Association (ABA)

“The APWG is pleased to see this innovation in repatriating compromised consumer data and credentials, a scheme useful for informing customer protection and industrial security response efforts. One of the challenges of e-crime response is the routine mobilization of e-crime event data that must be exchanged to protect consumers. Microsoft and NCFTA have done an enormous service to the e-crime response community by establishing this system to better enable industrial institutions to work together to protect consumers.”

—Peter Cassidy

Secretary General

Anti-Phishing Working Group

“Citizens Bank is excited about the opportunity to partner with Microsoft, law enforcement, the National Cyber-Forensics and Training Alliance, and others to help build an innovative framework to rapidly address cyberthreats by combining knowledge and resources to enhance consumer trust when conducting business online.”

—Lin Abbott

Vice President, Chief Information Security Officer

Citizens Bank

“Internet Fraud Alert is a promising and innovative approach to help financial and online institutions discover hijacked accounts and close them or inform the affected consumers. We hope that someday there won’t be a need for a secure database of stolen account credentials. In the meantime, computer users who want to protect themselves can learn how at”

—Chuck Harwood

Deputy Director

Federal Trade Commission

“At a time when scams and the criminals who run them are becoming ever more sophisticated and networked, it is imperative that the forces arrayed against them keep pace to provide consumers with the maximum protection possible. We applaud today’s announcement as a positive step in this direction. By enabling easier coordination between enforcement agencies, service providers, retailers and financial institutions, the Internet Fraud Alert system will add an additional layer of fraud protection for consumers.”

—John Breyault

Vice President

National Consumers League


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