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Your Customers' Credit Card Numbers at Risk

Hacker Gets Access to Credit Card Numbers

Feb 18, 12:30 PM (ET)

By EILEEN ALT POWELL

NEW YORK (AP) - A computer hacker gained access to more than 5.6 million Visa and MasterCard account numbers by breaching the security of a company that processes transactions for merchants, the card associations said Tuesday.

Visa USA spokesman Mike Riley said ... he could not identify the third-party processor or say exactly when or how the hacker got access to the account information, which involves some 3.4 million Visa accounts and 2.2 million MasterCard accounts.

A source with knowledge of the situation who spoke on condition of anonymity said that the incident occurred in early February.

Processors handle transactions for merchants, bundling and transmitting charges to the banks that issue the cards.

Visa, which is based in Foster City, Calif., said that after learning of the incident, the company's fraud team "immediately notified all affected card-issuing financial institutions and is working with the third-party payment card processor to protect against the threat of a future intrusion." ... MasterCard Inc., which is based in Purchase, N.Y., said that affected banks had been notified. A MasterCard spokesman did not immediately return calls seeking comment.

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