Global Payments Warns of 'Unauthorized Access' to Servers
06/12/2012| 06:06pm US/Eastern
--Company says it has given larger number of card numbers to card brands for monitoring
--Company continues to believe no more than 1.5 million card numbers were exported
--Company is seventh-largest merchant acquirer in U.S.
(Updates with details about breach in paragraphs six and seven and new information throughout.)
By Andrew R. Johnson
Global Payments Inc. (>> Global Payments Inc.), which disclosed in late March that its North American processing system was hacked, said Tuesday its ongoing investigation "revealed potential unauthorized access to servers containing personal information collected from a subset of merchant applicants."
The Atlanta-based payments processor also says it has given a larger number of card numbers to card brands for monitoring.
"It is unclear whether the intruders looked at or took any personal information from the company's systems," the company said in a statement issued after Tuesday's market close. It said it plans to notify "potentially-affected individuals in the coming days" and make credit monitoring and identity protection insurance available for free.
Global Payments will hold a conference call at 6 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time to discuss the issue.
Its shares closed up 0.8% at $42.19 Tuesday and fell 0.6% in after hours trading.
The company, which processes credit and debit card transactions for merchants and banks, said in late March that it identified and self-reported the incident to law enforcement. At the time it said up to 1.5 million cardholder accounts may have been exposed, and in its statement Tuesday it said it continues to believe the number of card numbers "exported" or taken from its system did not exceed its amount.
Information accessed included card numbers and other details that can be used to create counterfeit cards but didn't contain cardholder names, addresses or Social Security numbers.
Since then, Visa Inc. (V) and MasterCard Inc. (>> Mastercard Inc) have removed Global Payments from their lists of approved third-party vendors that meet their security standards.
Global Payments was the nation's seventh-largest "merchant acquirer" in the U.S. last year, according to the Nilson Report, a newsletter in Carpinteria, Calif., that tracks the payments industry. Global Payments handled $120.6 billion in Visa and MasterCard card volume last year, according to the newsletter.
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