MasterCard, Visa Targeted In Apparent Cyberattack - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

MasterCard, Visa Targeted In Apparent Cyberattack

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) - The corporate websites of Visa and MasterCard were inaccessible at times Wednesday due to an apparent cyberattack by purported Wikileaks backers.

Messages posted on Twitter indicated the attacks maybe be in response to recent moves by Visa and Mastercard against WikiLeaks, the website that recently released thousands of secret U.S. State Department documents.

"The issue appears to be the result of a concentrated effort to flood our corporate website with traffic and slow access," said MasterCard spokesman James Issokson, in a prepared statement.

Issokson said the hack attack did not affect the use of credit cards or financial security. The networks used to run credit card transactions operate independently from corporate websites.

By Wednesday evening, MasterCard said it had "made significant progress in restoring full-service to its corporate website."

Visa's site -- which appeared to attract attacks later in the day -- remained inaccessible.

"Visa's processing network, which handles cardholder transactions, is functioning normally and cardholders can continue to use their cards as they routinely would. Account data is not at risk," Visa spokesman Ted Carr said in a statement.

Carr added that Visa.com is experiencing "higher than normal" traffic and that the company is taking steps to restore the site to full operations within the next few hours.

The action against Visa comes after Visa Europe, a division of Visa, stopped accepting payments for WikiLeaks.

"Visa Europe has taken action to temporarily suspend Visa payment acceptance on WikiLeaks' website pending investigation into whether it contravenes Visa operating rules, including compliance with local laws in the markets where we operate," said Visa, in a prepared statement.

Supporters of WikiLeaks claimed to have launched the cyberattack in retaliation for MasterCard's (MA, Fortune 500) refusal to accept credit cards on the WikiLeaks site.

Issokson wouldn't comment on allegations of who was behind the attack. But on Tuesday, MasterCard said it was "working to suspend the acceptance of MasterCard cards on WikiLeaks."

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