Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Global Payments Credit-Card Data Breach: How Big Is the Theft?

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Global Payments Credit-Card Data Breach: How Big Is the Theft?

Article excerpt

The Global Payments breach is the largest known credit-card theft from a business or financial institution in the past two years. Last year, data from some 3.4 million credit cards were grabbed.

Cybercriminals recently made off with up to 1.5 million credit- card numbers from Global Payments, a third-party processor of transactions for Visa and MasterCard. It's the largest known credit- card theft from a business or financial institution in the past two years.

During that period, much larger cases of cyber data theft - involving more than just credit-card information - have occurred. For instance, the personal data of 24 million customers was stolen from online retailer Zappos in January. But to experts who watch cybertheft trends, the Global Payments theft indicates a return by hackers to targeting big organizations, not just small ones far from the law-enforcement limelight.

It also represents hackers avoiding direct attacks on banks and financial institutions that have beefed up their security.

"We've seen the number of reported thefts of data from financial institutions declining since 2005 - even as the number of hacks targeting businesses has steadily risen," says Karen Barney, program director at the Identity Theft Resource Center in San Diego, which issues annual reports tallying the attacks.

Data for 3.4 million credit cards were grabbed last year, down from 4.6 million in 2010, the ITRC reported. Information related to payment cards (that is, credit and debit cards) was involved in more breaches - 48 percent - than was any other data type, according to the 2012 Data Breach Investigations Report, another industry study by Verizon.

Among data theft worldwide last year, there were 855 incidents with 174 million compromised records, according to the Verizon study, which was conducted by Verizon's RISK Team and included data from Australian, Dutch, and Irish police as well as the US Secret Service. In the report last year, the number of compromised records came in at an all-time low - 4 million.

Most payment-card thefts, the Verizon study found, are from small businesses, with only about 5 percent last year from large organizations. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.