Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Stratfor Attack May Harm Charities

Two days ago the LA Times reported that hackers (a group called Anonymous initially claimed responsibility) had attacked Stratfor, a company that provides security consulting.  The hackers stole credit card information and charged donations to a variety of charities. Initially, the group taking responsibility said its goal was to donate $1 million to charities.  The LA Times story said that phony charges had been discovered to charities that included Red Cross, CARE, and Save the Children.  A blog post in the NY Times blogs describes the problems for charities.  The obvious problem is that the charges are invalid, but the question is what happens next.  Charities will lose time and money trying to identify the invalid charges and work with credit card holders to refund the donations. The charities may even be hit with penalties by the credit card companies due to the time lag in sorting all this out.  Perhaps the credit card companies could make exceptions for penalty fees in this sort of situation, but the complexity of the situation - multiple charges and multiple charities - makes this unlikely.  

Whoever the hackers are - Anonymous now says it was not responsible - they haven't done the charities any favors.


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