HOW TO : Use grep to search for credit card numbers

I was looking for a quick way to search for credit card numbers in a file and ran across this excellent post by Adrian Rollett. I tweaked his suggestion a bit to show some additional data.

Original suggestion

[code] grep ‘\(^\|[^0-9]\)\{1\}\([345]\{1\}[0-9]\{3\}\|6011\)\{1\}[-]\?[0-9]\{4\}[-]\?\[0-9]\{2\}[-]\?[0-9]\{2\}-\?[0-9]\{1,4\}\($\|[^0-9]\)\{1\}’ FILE_TO_SEARCH [/code]

My modification

[code]¬†grep ‘\([345]\{1\}[0-9]\{3\}\|6011\)\{1\}[ -]\?[0-9]\{4\}[ -]\?[0-9]\{2\}[-]\?[0-9]\{2\}[ -]\?[0-9]\{1,4\}’ –color -H -n FILE_TO_SEARCH [/code]

The modified command will show the name of the file the number was found and at which line. You can tweak it further using additional options for grep. A good reference guide can be found here.