By Liz Klimas | The Blaze | Mar. 30, 2012
NEW YORK (The Blaze/AP) — MasterCard and Visa said Friday that they had notified issuers of its credit cards of a potential breach of the security of customer accounts. The companies did not say how many customers were affected.
Global Payments Inc., which processes credit card transactions for stores, said it had detected a breach of card data in early March. Breaches of card data can lead to identity theft and unauthorized charges.
Global Payments said it had alerted federal law enforcement and was investigating. Spokeswoman Amy Corn would not say whether cards besides Visa and MasterCard were affected.
Gizmodo has more on this potential hack:
The story has been developing throughout the morning. Right now, it goes like this: Hackers gained access to an administrative-privileged account at a New York City taxi company and, over the course of several months, stole 10 million credit card numbers. They’ve been sitting on them, waiting to spend all at once to maximize the time before they’re shut down.
The Wall Street Journal puts the number of compromised accounts around 50,000, which is a far cry from 10 million. The massive number had originally been sourced to a post from a Gartner analyst, and while it seems a little far fetched that a cab company would have millions of numbers, we’d still err to caution.
Visa and Mastercard have both issued statements explaining the breach, but stressed that their networks were not specifically breached. Though that doesn‘t really matter if you’re affected by the hack of “third-party processor” Global Payments. No word yet from American Express or Discover, but both are accepted by official NYC cabs.
MSNBC has other security experts weighing in on the theory that the breach may have originated through use of NYC cabs or paying for parking garages:
Gartner security expert Avivah Litan said she’s been told that the stolen data is already being used on the street by identity thieves.
“I’ve spoken with folks in the card business who are seeing signs of this breach mushroom. Looks like the hackers have started using the stolen card data more recently,” she said.
She’s been told that investigators believe the data theft originated in New York City.
“From what I hear, the breach involves a taxi and parking garage company in the New York City area, so if you’ve paid a NYC cab in the last few months with your credit or debit card — be sure to check your card statements for possible fraud,” Litan said in her blog post on the topic.
Global Payments stock was halted after published reports said it was responsible. The stock fell 9 percent for the day before trading was stopped.
Credit card companies generally protect customers against fraudulent transactions, and Visa said specifically Friday that its U.S. customers were not at risk. MasterCard said their own systems had not been compromised.
Gizmodo goes on to report that Bank of America and Chase have been alerting their customers to a potential hack for several weeks and notes that fraudulent charges have been seen even after cards had been canceled.
Last June, hackers stole information for 360,000 credit card accounts at Citigroup. In the past year, there have been high-profile data attacks against the International Monetary Fund, National Public Radio, Google and Sony’s PlayStation Network.