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your credit card can be pirated in 6 seconds

By the time you read the beginning of this article, a hacker would have already finished hacking your bank card. At least that’s what a recent NordVPN study suggests, based on data from 4.5 million pirated bank cards.

6 seconds. And not one more. This is how long it takes a hacker to hack a credit card, NordVPN study finds (1). The company has recently become interested 4.5million bank cards, from 140 countries, whose data leaked onto the Dark Web. And the results are chilling.

For such a high number of bank cards to appear on the Dark Web, cybercriminals have most likely used thebrute force attack, explains Marijus Briedis, technical director at NordVPN. The concept? Hackers mobilize computing power to try to guess the 16 digits on your bank card.

And the task is not so complicated as it seems. The first 6 or 8 digits on your card correspond to its transmitter. So there only remains 7 9 digits determine, because the 16th and last digit is an authenticity code which makes it possible to verify that the entry is correct thanks to the algorithm of Luhn, resumes Marijus Briedis.

What the 16 digits on your credit card mean

1 billion combinations

To guess the missing 9 digits, hackers have to try about 1 billion combinations. However, it only takes a minute for an ordinary computer, which is able to test approximately 25billion combinations per hour, says Marijus Briedis. Worse: Depending on the card issuer, a scammer may only have seven digits to guess, in which case, 6 seconds are enough.

In theory at least, because to avoid this type of attack, most transmitters limit the number of input attempts allowed in a given period of time. The Mastercard network, for example, is equipped with a centralized authentication system. Result? Pirates only have the right a dozen tries on the same number before being blocked.

However, criminals sometimes find a way to circumvent these security measures. In the case of Visa’s security system, an attacker can try 30 40 times, see more. And if he picks the right time of day, when it’s busy, he can try a lot more times because the system is decentralized, NordVPN says. No doubt this is the reason why more than half of the 4.5million pirate payment cards were Visa cards.

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Precautionary measures

To date, there is no infallible solution to prevent your bank card numbers from being exposed on the Dark Web. However, several provisions can help you reduce the risks.

Review your monthly account statement for suspicious activity and respond promptly and seriously to any notification from your bank indicating potential fraudulent use of your card, recommends Marijus Briedis, for example.

To go further, you can also provide a separate bank account for your online purchases, in which you only keep small amounts of money. Some banks also offer single-use virtual cards. Once your payment has been made, the card can no longer be used, which limits the risk of fraud.

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(1) The data was compiled in partnership with independent cybersecurity incident research experts, from a database that contained details of 4,478,908 payment cards.

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