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Up to 1.5 million Visa, MasterCard credit card numbers stolen


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U.S.-based credit card processor company Global Payments has confirmed that its security breach was confined to North America, and that less than 1.5 million credit cards were stolen.

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Global Payments, the U.S.-based credit card processor company that experienced a security breach affecting plastic issued from Visa and MasterCard, today confirmed that the breached portion of its processing system was confined to North America. The company also finally revealed how many credit card numbers were stolen: less than 1,500,000.

News broke on Friday that Visa and MasterCard warned banks of a major potential breach at a U.S.-based credit card processor (see Visa, MasterCard warn of ‘massive’ security breach and Analysts on Visa, MasterCard credit card security breach). Both Visa and MasterCard then confirmed the breach, although the two also emphasized their own security systems were not compromised. Soon after, Global Payments confirmed it had identified unauthorized access into its processing system.

Estimates previously ranged from 50,000 to 10 million credit cards, but Global Payments has reduced that to just 15 percent of the upper bound. Then again, 1.5 million credit card numbers is nothing to scoff at. Thankfully for Global Payments, analysts say the firm will be able to absorb any costs it needs to.

Previous reports suggested that full Track 1 and Track 2 data was taken, which means perpetrators got enough to counterfeit new cards. Global Payments’ investigation to date has revealed that Track 2 card data may have been stolen, but the company is still not sure. On the other hand, Global Payment was confident enough to say that cardholder names, addresses, and social security numbers were not obtained by the criminals.

Last but certainly not least, Global Payments believes that this incident is contained, based on its forensic analysis to date, network monitoring, and additional security measures which it did not detail. The company also says it “continues to work with industry third parties, regulators and law enforcement to assist in the efforts to minimize potential cardholder impact” and that it “has engaged multiple information security and forensics firms to investigate and address this issue.”

“We are making rapid progress toward bringing this issue to a close,” Global Payments Chairman and CEO Paul R. Garcia said in a statement. “Our nearly 4,000 employees around the world are focused on providing exceptional service. We are open for business and continue to process transactions for all of the card brands.”

The origin of the hack is still unknown.

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