Global Payments breach raises questions
Company's description of breach leaves some gaps
Computerworld - Payment processing vendor Global Payments Inc. held a conference call Monday to explain a computer intrusion that exposed data on at least 1.5 million credit and debit card holders, but many questions about the breach were left unanswered.
The Atlanta-based company, which processes payment card transactions for thousands of merchants, first reported the compromise Friday when it issued a brief statement saying that intruders had gained access to a portion of its processing system. It later updated the statement to say that data belonging to about 1.5 million card holders, had been "exported" from its systems.
The company's disclosures came after the Wall Street Journal on Friday identified Global Payments as the victim of a major data breach. The breach was originally reported by security blogger Brian Krebs. Krebs' report did not name Global Payments and was based on an internal alert from Visa and MasterCard warning card-issuing banks about a breach at an undisclosed payment processor involving about 10 million debit and credit cards.
In a conference call with investors, Global Payments Chairman and CEO Paul Garcia said the data theft was confined to the company's North American processing system. The breach did not involve any merchant systems or systems belonging to sales partners, he said.
"Neither merchant systems nor point-of-sale devices were involved in any way," Garcia said, according to a transcript of Monday's call.
"Importantly, investigation to-date has revealed that the theft involved Track 2 card data only. We do not believe Track 1 card data was taken or that cardholder names, addresses, Social Security numbers for consumer banking information was obtained by the criminals," Garcia said, repeating the company's earlier statement on the breach. Based on an investigation of the intrusion, "we believe that this incident is contained," he said.
The company's description of the breach leaves some questions unanswered, said Avivah Litan, an analyst at Gartner. "It seems obvious that they were breached... but they didn't come out and say it straight," Litan said. "All they said is what was not involved. That's the mystery here."
There also appears to be a discrepancy between Global Payments' description of the data that was compromised and the descriptions offered by MasterCard and Visa. According to the alert sent out by the credit card companies to card-issuers, the compromised data included both Track 1 data, which includes personally identifiable information such as the card holder's name and account number, and Track 2 data, which involves information such as the card's expiration date and the account number. However, Global Payments has insisted that only Track 2 data was compromised.
"This discrepancy just raises more questions. We still don't have all the information," Litan said.
A Visa spokesman said the company does not comment on private internal communications regarding ongoing investigations.
- Hackers steal user data from the European Central Bank website, demand money
- Arrests made after international cyber-ring targets StubHub
- SQL injection flaw opens door for Wall Street Journal database hack
- Goodwill Industries probes possible payment card breach
- Aloha point-of-sale terminal, sold on eBay, yields security surprises
- The biggest data breaches of 2014 (so far)
- Blue Shield discloses 18,000 doctors' Social Security numbers
- PF Chang's says breach was 'highly sophisticated criminal operation'
- Breaches exposed 1 in 7 US debit cards in 2013
- New malware program targets banking data
- Top 10 Reasons to Strengthen Information Security with Desktop Virtualization Regain control and reduce risk without sacrificing business productivity and growth
- Preventing Sophisticated Attacks: Anti-Evasion & Advanced Evasion Techniques McAfee Next Generation Firewall applies sophisticated analysis techniques specifically to detect advanced evasion techniques (AET).
- The Security Industry's Dirty Little Secret The debate over advanced evasion techniques (AETs) This report summarizes the findings of a McAfee commissioned research group to determine the level of understanding IT security professionals have about AETs...
- Demand More, Get the Most from the Move to a Next-Generation Firewall Beyond the basics in a next generation firewall, to protect your investment you should demand other valuable features: intrusion prevention, contextual rules, advanced...
- What should I look for in a Next Generation Firewall? SANS Provides Guidance With so many vendors claiming to have a Next Generation Firewall (NGFW), it can be difficult to tell what makes each one different....
- Responding to New SSL Cybersecurity Threat The featured Gartner research examines current strategies to address new SSL cybersecurity threats and vulnerabilities. All Security White Papers | Webcasts
Our new bimonthly Internet of Things newsletter helps you keep pace with the rapidly evolving technologies, trends and developments related to the IoT. Subscribe now and stay up to date!