Officials at Global Payments, a Sandy Springs-based credit card processor, says a recent data breach has been contained to fewer than 1.5 million cards in North America.
The hack occurred between January 21 and February 25. Visa and MasterCard credit card numbers were stolen, which in turn could be used to create counterfeit new cards.
Amy Corn of Global Payments says the company has secured its system and a forensic analysis is taking place.
“The investigation to date has revealed that cardholder names, addresses and social security numbers were not obtained by the criminals.”
Still, Visa and MasterCard have notified users of the potential for identity theft and illicit charges. And Visa has suspended its relationship with Global Payments while the investigation takes place.
Kennesaw State University professor Herb Mattord, a data security expert, says this breach is a serious one, but it differs slightly from recent high-profile cases like the one involving Sony’s PlayStation Network.
“Breaches like this have happened in the past, but nobody that was affected by this bill would have been knowledgeable if their card was at risk because they thought they were just buying groceries or gasoline. So that’s probably why the scale and scope of this is notable,” Mattord said.
He says the investigation is likely to be drawn out because breaches of this size are always unique to the specific security system.