Payments processor Heartland Payment Systems has learned it was the victim of a security breach within its processing system in 2008. The company believes the intrusion has been contained. Heartland’s campus solution, the Give Something Back Network, was not impacted by the intrusion.
“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. “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.”
Hackers somehow placed malicious software into Heartland’s payment system and were able to obtain credit and debit card numbers. No merchant data or cardholder Social Security numbers, personal identification numbers, addresses or telephone numbers were involved in the breach. Nor were any of Heartland’s check management systems; Canadian, payroll, campus solutions or micropayments operations; Give Something Back Network; or the recently acquired Network Services and Chockstone processing platforms.
After being alerted by Visa and MasterCard of suspicious activity surrounding processed card transactions, Heartland enlisted the help of several forensic auditors to conduct a thorough investigation into the matter. Last week, the investigation uncovered malicious software that compromised data that crossed Heartland’s network.
Heartland immediately took a number of steps to further secure its systems. In addition, Heartland will implement a next-generation program designed to flag network anomalies in real-time and enable law enforcement to expeditiously apprehend cyber criminals.
Heartland has created a website – www.2008breach.com – to provide information about this incident and advises cardholders to examine their monthly statements closely and report any suspicious activity to their card issuers. Cardholders are not responsible for unauthorized fraudulent charges made by third parties.