Feeds

MasterCard fingers partner in 40m card security breach

Record setting lapse

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

MasterCard has blamed a single individual for compromising up to 40m credit card accounts - a total marking the security breach as one of the most massive to date.

In a PR nightmare for a financial services company, MasterCard issued a statement saying it had notified banks, payment processors and law enforcement officials of the credit card crack. MasterCard identified CardSystems Solutions - a third-party that processes payments - as owner of the compromised system that revealed the huge amount of customer accounts.

"(V)ulnerabilities allowed an unauthorized individual to infiltrate their network and access the cardholder data," MasterCard said.

To its credit, MasterCard was quick to notify the public about the issue, saying up to 14m of its credit cards were affected. Other credit card companies have yet to put out statements on the matter, although a Visa spokeswoman was quoted as saying up to 22m of the company's cards could have been compromised.

These types of security breaches have become all too common. Organizations such as LexisNexis, ChoicePoint, PayMaxx, Bank of America, San Jose Medical Group, California State University at Chico, Boston College, the University of California at Berkeley, and a large shoe retailer called DSW have all reported the loss of sensitive data. Millions of people have been affected as a result.

CardSystems discovered a "potential security incident" on May 22 and notified the FBI about the problem the next day. As investigators looked into the situation, CardSystems began an internal security audit and hired a firm to assess the security of its systems.

"CardSystems is completing the installation of enhanced/additional security procedures recommended by the security assessor involved in the investigation," the company said.

"We understand and fully appreciate the seriousness of the situation. Our customers and their customers are our lifeblood. We are sparing no effort to get to the bottom of this matter. Our goal is to cooperate fully with the FBI to complete the investigation and ensure that we do nothing that might compromise the investigation."

MasterCard was quick to point out that it does not store prized information such as social security numbers or dates of birth on its cards.

"Protecting cardholders, preventing fraud, and safeguarding financial information is a top priority at MasterCard," the company said. ®

Related stories

GAO gives US.gov D- for security
Make ID cards foolproof pleads Met chief
Motorola downplays data security breach
Citibank admits: we've lost the backup tape
Online gamers targeted in Korean MSN hack attack
US bank staff 'sold customer details'
Adventurous squirrels swap passwords for coffee beans

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
FYI: OS X Yosemite's Spotlight tells Apple EVERYTHING you're looking for
It's on by default – didn't you read the small print?
Russian hackers exploit 'Sandworm' bug 'to spy on NATO, EU PCs'
Fix imminent from Microsoft for Vista, Server 2008, other stuff
Edward who? GCHQ boss dodges Snowden topic during last speech
UK spies would rather 'walk' than do 'mass surveillance'
Microsoft pulls another dodgy patch
Redmond makes a hash of hashing add-on
'LulzSec leader Aush0k' found to be naughty boy not worthy of jail
15 months home detention leaves egg on feds' faces as they grab for more power
China is ALREADY spying on Apple iCloud users, claims watchdog
Attack harvests users' info at iPhone 6 launch
Carders punch holes through Staples
Investigation launched into East Coast stores
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.