Saturday, June 18, 2005


Oh, great.

MasterCard International reported yesterday that more than 40 million credit card accounts of all brands might have been exposed to fraud through a computer security breach at a payment processing company, perhaps the largest case of stolen consumer data to date.

MasterCard said its analysts and law enforcement officials had identified a pattern of fraudulent charges that were traced to an intrusion at CardSystems Solutions of Tucson, Ariz., which processes more than $15 billion in payments for small to midsize merchants and financial institutions each year.

About 20 million Visa and 13.9 million MasterCard accounts were compromised; the other accounts belonged to American Express or Discover cardholders. The accounts affected included credit cards and certain kinds of debit cards. The F.B.I. said it was investigating.

A MasterCard spokeswoman, Sharon Gamsin, said an infiltrator had managed to place a computer code or script on the CardSystems network that made it possible to extract information. She would not elaborate on how long the breach might have lasted, on when the inquiry began or on whether any infiltrators had been identified. She did say that the breach occurred this year.

This year? I feel so much better knowing they’re hot on the case.

Maybe I’d have been better off buying some rare coins…