Early this month, sixty thousand Australians received notice that their credit card details and account passwords may have been exposed in a security breach at Bottle Domains, an Australian domain registrar.
Receipt of this disturbing news likely started a chain of events in thousands of households and businesses: a scramble to check your credit card statements, a flurry of worried phone calls, filing paperwork to deny unauthorised charges, and then updating all your other auto-pay vendors when a shiny new credit card arrives in the post.
Moreover, many of those affected – and those who read about it in the news – will think twice before giving their credit card number to online merchants. After all, the Bottle Domains incident is another example of credit card data being lost or stolen from businesses – both online and offline.
Fortunately, consumers have alternative payment options that don’t involve sharing credit card details. When customers in Australia pay by PayPal, POLi, or Paymate (full disclosure: all 3 are NetChoice members), they know that their credit card information is never shared with merchants. That’s one reason these payment systems are a safer way to do e-commerce, relative to credit cards and bank transfers.
We hope that Australian authorities and the .au registry operator auDA are asking serious questions of other registrars, and requiring them to improve their data security practices. And while they’re at it, auDA should ask its registrars to offer these safer payment methods from now on.
While troubling revelations about credit card leaks is bad news, it is also an opportunity for action to start adopting smarter and safer payment methods.