Company Admits To Massive Hack Attack


Posted January 21, 2009 - By Stephen Johnson

Obviously, you and I love technology, but sometimes it's good to be reminded of the downside of the world's reliance on computers for every aspect of our life.

Case-in-point: Heartland Payment Services, a huge credit and debit processing company,  announced yesterday that it was the victim of a "highly sophisticated" attack. Up to 100 million accounts may have been compromised. 100 Million... That means, yeah, probably yours.

Hackers apparently installed malware on Heartland's systems that allowed them to capture card account numbers and expiration dates -- in 20 percent of cases, the customer's name, as well.

"We found evidence of an intrusion last week and immediately notified federal law enforcement officials, as well as the card brands," said Robert H.B. Baldwin, Jr., Heartland's president and chief financial officer, in a statement. "We understand that this incident may be the result of a widespread global cyber fraud operation, and we are cooperating closely with the United States Secret Service and Department of Justice."

The company believes the breach has been contained and cardholder's Social Security numbers, unencrypted PIN numbers, addresses or telephone numbers were not involved. The company urges consumers to check their statements very carefully to make sure there are no unauthorized charges. It has set up a site to help consumers keep track of the problem, too.

I had a credit card account "compromised" a few years ago. Somehow, someone spoofed my card. The credit card company called immediately to ask me whether I had made some irregular purchases, but before they shut down my account, the person who stole my digits bought himself some shoes, a jacket and ordered a pizza.

I was able to track down the address of the person who used my card number-- they had the pizza delivered-- but the police were not interested in pursuing it, even though I had done their work for them. It didn't end up costing me anything, but, man, what a pain! I've been very careful since.

Ever had any of your financial info stolen? How did it come out?



Company Admits To Massive Hack Attack


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