Quick Poll: Many Smaller Banks Hit By Heartland Breach
In another sign that the recently disclosed data breach at credit card processing giant Heartland Payment Systems may indeed be one for the record books, a quick survey of community banks indicates that a majority of institutions have been notified that at least some of their debit or credit cards were compromised in the breach.
Princeton, N.J., based Heartland has not disclosed how many credit and debit card accounts may have been intercepted by malicious software the company recently found on its payment processing network. Heartland's president and chief financial officer Robert Baldwin told Security Fix last month that the company processes about 100 million card transactions each month.
The Independent Community Bankers of America, a trade group that includes some 5,000 banks representing 18,000 locations nationwide, took an informal poll of its members recently to find out how many were contacted by Heartland. According to the ICBA, 83 percent of the 512 member banks that responded said they had credit and/or debit cards affected by the Heartland breach. Thirteen percent said they didn't know yet.
The ICBA survey is unscientific and extremely simple. Even so, it may offer the broadest look yet at the extent of this breach. So far, most of the information we have about the size of the breach has come from the Open Security Foundation. OSF maintains datalossdb.org, which has collected a list of news stories about specific banks that have acknowledged receiving notice from Heartland about compromised accounts. According to OSF, as of this writing, 79 banks have reported being affected by the Heartland breach, with a known total of 276,066 cards affected.
February 6, 2009; 9:51 AM ET
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