VeriSign says online fraud growing fast

Tuesday, 10 February 2004, 4:43 AM EST

In delivering VeriSign's Internet security intelligence briefing, company executives observed that online commerce rose by some 59 percent during the 2003 holiday buying season, compared with the same period in 2002. VeriSign said it processed $6.4 billion in online sales between Nov. 1 and Dec. 31, compared with $4 billion during the same time frame the previous year.

However, the company also tracked a 176 percent increase in the number of probes potential hackers launched during the holidays. The study tabulated the numbers of attacks registered by corporate firewalls and network intrusion systems in order to develop its security conclusions.

In addition, VeriSign said e-commerce merchants rejected as "too risky" some 7 percent of all orders placed online during the holidays, with most being turned down because of questionable credit card numbers or suspected identity theft. Yet the company said that since many of those rejections were generated by automated systems, e-commerce vendors could have missed out on some legitimate sales that were for some reason misconstrued as fraudulent.

By Matt Hines at CNET.

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