MasterCard International Identifies Security Breach at CardSystems Solutions, A Third Party Processor of Payment Card Data

PURCHASE, N.Y.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--June 17, 2005--MasterCard International reported today that it is notifying its member financial institutions of a breach of payment card data, which potentially exposed more than 40 million cards of all brands to fraud, of which approximately 13.9 million are MasterCard-branded cards.

MasterCard International's team of security experts identified that the breach occurred at Tucson-based CardSystems Solutions, Inc., a third-party processor of payment card data. Third party processors process transactions on behalf of financial institutions and merchants.

Through the use of MasterCard fraud-fighting tools that proactively monitor for fraud, MasterCard was able to identify the processor that was breached. Working with all parties, including issuing banks, acquiring banks, the processor and law enforcement, MasterCard immediately launched an investigation into the breach, and worked with CardSystems to remediate the security vulnerabilities in the processor's systems. These vulnerabilities allowed an unauthorized individual to infiltrate their network and access the cardholder data.

CardSystems has already taken steps to improve the security of its system. However, MasterCard is giving it a limited amount of time to demonstrate compliance with MasterCard security requirements.

Importantly, in keeping with its standards that focus on consumer protection and the safeguarding of sensitive information, MasterCard immediately notified its customer banks of specific card accounts that may have been subject to compromise so they can take the appropriate measures to protect their cardholders.

In the event of a cardholder data breach, MasterCard always takes this precaution regardless of whether there is any indication that fraud has resulted and whether or not there has been a final determination that a security breach has or has not occurred. Upon receiving notice from MasterCard, banks are able to take the appropriate steps to protect their cardholders from potential fraud. No highly sensitive information, such as social security numbers or dates of birth or the like, are stored on MasterCard cards.

Consumers have strong protection if unauthorized charges are made on their MasterCard cards. In the U.S., MasterCard cardholders are protected by MasterCard's Zero Liability policy for unauthorized transactions on their accounts. If MasterCard cardholders have any reason to believe that their cards were used fraudulently, they should contact their issuing bank.

Protecting cardholders, preventing fraud, and safeguarding financial information is a top priority at MasterCard. The company maintains a global team of experts devoted to maintaining the integrity and security of its payment systems and who work closely with federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies to help in the apprehension of fraudsters and other criminals.

Federal Regulation of Data

While Congress continues to consider data breach notification standards, MasterCard urges them to enact wider application of Gramm-Leach-Bliley, the act that includes provisions to protect consumers' personal financial information held by financial institutions. Currently, GLBA only applies to financial institutions providing services to consumers, including MasterCard. MasterCard urges Congress to extend that application to also include any entity, such as third party processors, that stores consumer financial information, regardless of whether or not they interact directly with consumers.

About MasterCard International

MasterCard International is a leading global payments solutions company that provides a broad variety of innovative services in support of our global members' credit, deposit access, electronic cash, business-to-business and related payment programs. MasterCard International manages a family of well-known, widely accepted payment cards brands including MasterCard(R), Maestro(R) and Cirrus(R) and serves financial institutions, consumers, and businesses in over 210 countries and territories. The MasterCard award-winning Priceless(R) advertising campaign is now seen in 97 countries and in 47 languages, giving the MasterCard brand a truly global reach and scope. For more information go to www.mastercardinternational.com.

Contacts

MasterCard International
Media Hotline (after-hours), 914-249-3155
or
Sharon Gamsin, 914-249-5622
sgamsin@mastercard.com
or
Jessica Antle, 914-249-5632
jessica_antle@mastercard.com

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