Feeds

MasterCard fingers partner in 40m card security breach

Record setting lapse

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

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
George Clooney, WikiLeaks' lawyer wife hand out burner phones to wedding guests
Day 4: 'News'-papers STILL rammed with Clooney nuptials
Shellshock: 'Larger scale attack' on its way, warn securo-bods
Not just web servers under threat - though TENS of THOUSANDS have been hit
Apple's new iPhone 6 vulnerable to last year's TouchID fingerprint hack
But unsophisticated thieves need not attempt this trick
PEAK IPV4? Global IPv6 traffic is growing, DDoS dying, says Akamai
First time the cache network has seen drop in use of 32-bit-wide IP addresses
Oracle SHELLSHOCKER - data titan lists unpatchables
Database kingpin lists 32 products that can't be patched (yet) as GNU fixes second vuln
Researchers tell black hats: 'YOU'RE SOOO PREDICTABLE'
Want to register that domain? We're way ahead of you.
Stunned by Shellshock Bash bug? Patch all you can – or be punished
UK data watchdog rolls up its sleeves, polishes truncheon
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.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.