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Hacker steals huge credit card database

(CNN) -- A hacker unsuccessfully attempted to extort money from an online credit card company after breaking into its Web site and taking thousands of credit card numbers, a company spokesman confirmed Wednesday.

The unidentified criminal managed to steal 55,000 credit card numbers from Creditcards.com, according to a report in The New York Times.

The FBI office in Los Angeles confirmed that it was investigating the incident, but offered no other comment.

A person close to the investigation said the intruder contacted the company after breaking into the site and published the data on the Internet after a demand for money was rebuffed, the Times reported.

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The Creditcards.com spokesman told CNN.com that by Wednesday those sites had been taken down.

The Los Angeles, California-based company offers e-commerce services to merchants that provide online transactions. People can also apply for credit cards through the site.

Creditcards.com's Web site lists clients that include the online fitness site Premier Solutions, Rock the Vote, Christian Concert Authority and Spy Gate.

The spokesman said the break-in took place four months ago and that the company had been aware of it for some time.

"We notified our merchants by letter and reassured them that everything was secure. This wasn't something that just recently happened. We haven't been dragging our feet," he said.

The Creditcards.com case is one of several recent attempts to extort money from Web sites by threatening to reveal their most sensitive information.



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RELATED SITES:
CreditCards.com
Federal Bureau of Investigation


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