Global Payments Hacked, 50K Cardholders At Risk (Visa & MasterCard Investigating The Breach)

Global Payments
Hacked, 50K Cardholders At Risk (Visa & MasterCard Investigating The Breach)

A security breach at Global Payments Inc, a third-party U.S. based processor, may have compromised 
50,000 Visa and MasterCard cardholder accounts. Both Visa and MasterCard have sent out non-public alerts to banks notifying them of the breach.
Major credit card issuing agencies have alerted customers and asserted that their own systems are still secure. MasterCard has hired an independent data security firm to look into the hack, while Visa has given the affected account number to the banks so that steps can be taken to protect those customers and to help find the hacker. However, the breach affects all major credit card brands, including Discover and American Express.
Visa and MasterCard are investigating whether a data security breach at one of the main companies that processes transactions improperly exposed private customer information, bank officials said Friday. The event highlighted a crucial vulnerability that could affect millions of credit card holders. The breach occurred at Global Payments, an Atlanta company that helps Visa and MasterCard process transactions for merchants. One bank executive estimated that about one million to three million accounts could be affected. That does not mean that all those cards were used fraudulently, but that credit card information on the cardholders was exposed. The bank official, who insisted on anonymity because the inquiry is at an early stage, said that Visa and MasterCard notified his company on Thursday, but that banks had been frustrated with the pace of disclosure by Global Payments. He said that Global Payments, which is one of the biggest transactions processors, had provided little information on where the breaches took place, how accounts were hacked and other details that could indicate which customers might be vulnerable. This is the second breach at Global Payments in the last 12 months, according to two individuals briefed on the investigations who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly. Another similar attack was disclosed by Heartland Payment Systems in 2009, a breach that began in 2007 and resulted in the exposure of data on 130 million credit cards. Heartland estimated that breach cost it $140 million in fines, settlements and legal fees.
If you use a Visa or MasterCard credit card, you may be affected by this breach. The good news is that most credit cards have fraud protection, so even if you are affected by this security breach, you most likely will not be affected by fraudulent charges if you catch them early enough.


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