Credit Card Processor Bares Massive Hacker Breach
Sophisticated hackers nab vast amounts credit card data
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 21, 2009 3:06 AM CST
Heartland Payment Systems processes some 100 million transactions a month, largely from small and mid-size restaurants around the country.   (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)
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(Newser) – A credit card payment processor has disclosed a data breach that experts believe could be the biggest ever and may be putting millions of consumers at risk of ripoffs, the Washington Post reports. Heartland Payment Systems, which handles 100 million transactions from 250,000 businesses every month, believes malicious software allowed intruders to access customer information records for a period "longer than weeks" late last year.

The stolen data, which include names, credit and debit card numbers and expiration dates, could be used to create bogus credit cards. Heartland plans to notify customers whose data was stolen after it probes the extent of the security breach. A fraud expert slammed Heartland's decision to release its bad news yesterday, when the media were focused on the inauguration.