Monday, September 14, 2009

Heartland on Defense at U.S. Senate Hearing

Eric Chabrow writes on

The ranking member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee told the chief executive of Heartland Payment Systems that she was "astonished" a breach the company's information system lasted for nearly 1½ years without being detected.

At a panel hearing Monday on protecting industry against growing cyber threats, Sen. Susan Collins, R.-Maine, asked Heartland CEO Robert Carr to explain how this delay happened. Carr responded that a breach is usually detected when the processing payer is notified of fraudulent use of cards, and that didn't occur until the end of 2008.

"Isn't there software in the systems to detect such a breach?" Collins asked.

"There is, and the cyber criminals are very good at masking themselves," Carr replied. "To be able to scan systems to determine what the malware is, you have to understand something about the attack vector, and you need to know something about the malware to find it. All of us in the industry go through annual assessments, but the bad guys are working together to get around all those assessment."

Carr told the panel Heartland is taking two major steps to prevent this type of breach to reoccur. Working through the Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Center, Heartland and other payment processors established Payments Processing Information Sharing, a forum for sharing information about fraud, threats, vulnerabilities and risk mitigation practices.

More here.


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