Credit card companies have always been vulnerable to a number of security concerns. And with a hack attack reported by Global Payments, an Atlanta company processing credit and debit cards, these concerns have intensified. Potentially exposing hundreds of thousands of account holders to fraud, this attack has heightened customer concerns about identity theft.
Putting at least 50,000 card holders at risk, this breach is the latest in a wave of security attacks. However, the extent of the breach could not be determined because it was not clear if the cardholders had seen any fraudulent transactions on their cards. The company said that it had identified and self-reported unauthorized access into a portion of its processing system, and added that the card data may have been accessed in early March. While the company did not disclose the details of the type of data that had been accessed, industry parties have been notified to help minimize cardholder impact.
Global Payments is part of a group of companies known as ‘third-party processors’ serving as middle-men between merchants and banks. This breach incident brings to light, the complex network of the payment system in the US where little-known companies play a major role in processing several billions of transactions every day. Such third-party processing companies have been hacking targets in the past too.
Although word of this breach incident did not spread immediately, after MasterCard and Visa started alerting card-issuing banks on Friday that customer data may be at risk, news began to circulate. However, both MasterCard and Visa stress that their networks were not compromised in the breach. According to Visa, the incident is being investigated by the US Secret Service and an unidentified forensic company.
Banks in general are reluctant to reissue cards to customers as the administrative cost involved in the process often exceeds the actual cost resulting from the fraud. Although it was not immediately clear as to how many cards may have to be reissued to customers, Discover Financial Services said that reissuing cards to customers is the appropriate move. A spokesperson for Bank of America also said that if they believe their information has been compromised at a third-party location, the company will notify customers and reissue their cards.
These major breach incidents and hack attacks continue to reinforce the need for a comprehensive security platform like SecureGRC. A solution like SecureGRC can help identify vulnerabilities in the system and fix them in a timely manner. It can provide complete security for data and effectively stop unauthorized access, thus averting security attacks and preventing breaches.