Breaking news – Credit card security breach

Global Payments Inc, a company that processes payments for Visa and Mastercard, announced on Friday, March 30, 2012 that it had identified unauthorized access into its processing system.

According to the company, the affected portion of its processing system is confined to North America and, in its own words “ … less than 1,500,000 card numbers may have been exported.”

On Friday, ZDNet reported that the companies alerted banks of the breach, which could put 10 million credit card accounts at risk. Krebs on Security reported that financial firm sources are calling the breach “massive”. Reportedly, the information was stolen between Jan. 21 and Feb. 25. Details are sketchy but one view of the incident includes a report from PSCU, a security firm for credit unions. PSCU said it had alerted 482 credit unions of the theft and that, among those banks, 56,455 consumer accounts were put at risk. More news reports can be read on Reuters and Forbes.

According to Global Payments, an investigation has revealed that Track 2 card data may have been stolen, but that cardholder names, addresses and social security numbers were not obtained by the criminals. Based on the forensic analysis to date, network monitoring and additional security measures, the company believes that this incident is contained. However, other reports state that full Track 1 and Track 2 data was taken – meaning that the information could be used to counterfeit new cards.

The company continues to work with industry third parties, regulators and law enforcement to assist in the efforts to minimize potential cardholder impact. It has engaged multiple information security and forensics firms to investigate and address this issue.

Global Payments will hold a conference call Monday, April 2, 2012 at 8:00am EDT.  Callers may access the conference call via the investor relations page of the Company’s Web site at www.globalpaymentsinc.com by clicking the “Webcast” button; or callers in North America may dial 1-888-895-3550 and callers outside North America may dial 1-706-758-8809.  The pass code is “GPN.”

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