Visa: New payment-processor data breach not so new after all

Company says recent breach alerts involved ongoing probe of earlier system intrusion

Days after Visa seemingly confirmed that a data breach had taken place at a third payment processor, following on the recent breach disclosures by Heartland Payment Systems and RBS WorldPay, the credit card company now is saying that there was no new security incident after all.

In actuality, Visa said in a statement issued Friday, alerts that it sent recently to banks and credit unions warning them about a compromise at a payment processor were related to the ongoing investigation of a previously known breach. However, Visa still didn't disclose the identity of the breached company, nor say why it is continuing to keep the name under wraps.

Visa said that it had sent lists of credit and debit card numbers found to have been compromised as part of the investigation to financial institutions "so they can take steps to protect consumers." It added that it currently "is risk-scoring all transactions in real-time, helping card issuers better distinguish fraudulent transactions from legitimate ones."

Visa's latest statement follows ones issued by both it and MasterCard International earlier this week in response to questions about breach notices that had been posted by several credit unions and banking associations. The notices made it clear that they weren't referring to the system intrusion disclosed by Heartland on January 20 and suggested that a new breach had occurred.

Visa's initial statement, and the one from MasterCard, were both carefully worded; neither said specifically that the breach being referred to was a new one, but they also didn't say that it was a previously disclosed incident. Visa said it was "aware that a processor has experienced a compromise of payment card account information from its systems," while MasterCard said it had notified card issuers of a "potential security breach" affecting a payment processor in the US.

MasterCard officials didn't respond Friday to requests seeking clarification on whether its statement referred to a previous breach or a new one.

Benson Bolling, vice president of lending at the Alabama Credit Union, said Friday that officials there had understood the breach to be a new one based on the alerts sent out by Visa - but couldn't say that for sure. According to Bolling, the credit union, which posted an advisory on February 17 and updated it two days later, was informed by Visa of a "big breach" shortly after getting the word about the intrusion at Heartland.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags security breach

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jaikumar Vijayan

Computerworld
Show Comments

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?