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Saturday, March 31, 2012

Business MasterCard to probepossible data breach

MasterCard Inc., the second-biggest payments network, said it’s investigating a potential breach of account data and that card issuers and law enforcement have been notified.

Data may have been targeted at a “U.S.-based entity,” and MasterCard’s own systems “have not been compromised in any manner,” the Purchase, New York-based company said today in an emailed statement. It didn’t specify how many accounts may have been affected.

MasterCard Inc. and Visa Inc. warned Thursday that some of the data in their cardholder accounts may have been breached. MasterCard said that it had notified banks, as well as law enforcement, of a potential problem with a third party “U.S.-based entity.” The Wall Street Journal reported that the company declined to say how many cards were at risk, but people familiar with the investigation estimated that it could be hundreds of thousands.

The company said it “identified and self-reported unauthorized access into a portion of its processing system.” It added that in early March it “determined that card data may have been accessed.”

Global Payments didn’t disclose what type of data had been accessed, but said it had notified “appropriate industry parties to allow them to minimize potential cardholder impact.”

News of the breach broke yesterday in the morning, however Global Payments confirmed it only after the market close.  Global Payments shares fell almost 10% to $47.50 a share on the New York Stock Exchange, after people involved in investigating the breach identified the company to The Wall Street Journal as the victim of the attack.  The stock was halted at midday.  The company is scheduled to report quarterly earnings on April 4.


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