While the leak of personally identifiable information can be problematic and frustrating for consumers, leaked credit and debit card numbers can cause much more immediate and expensive problems. In 2008 and 2009, many consumers experienced this headache when Heartland Payment Systems experienced a data breach that compromised of at least 100 million credit cards, leading to a significant change in the company’s practices to protect consumer information.
Credit card data accessed
Heartland Payment Systems is one of the largest credit card payment processing companies in the United States. When customers swipe their credit cards, companies like Heartland will process that information and communicate it to credit card companies. During the 2008 data breach, the information encoded in millions of credit cards processed by Heartland was stolen, and the theft was confirmed and announced in January of 2009.
As a result of the breach, Heartland paid more than $110 million in settlements with major credit card companies. The Heartland Payment Systems stock dipped down by as much as 77.6% following the breach. A computer hacker named Albert Gonzales was sentenced to 20 years in prison in 2010 due to his role in the organization that broke into the Heartland computer system.
While the breach did take a big toll on Heartland Payment Systems, the company used the incident as an opportunity to warn other members of the industry of the dangers that modern hackers may pose. In 2010, Heartland implemented end-to-end encryption to scramble valuable card information as soon as a card is swiped so that data is not so easily stolen traveling unencrypted through networks.
As cybercrimes evolve, it is necessary to remain invested in more advanced security solutions that can minimize your business’s risk. To explore the IT security needs of your Southern Arizona business, call Nextrio at (520) 519-6301.
This article is part of our collection of WORLD FAMOUS SECURITY BREACHES!