RBS WorldPay breach exposes 1.5 million

Payment processor buries bad news


RBS WorldPay belatedly admitted last week that hackers broke into its systems.

The attack against the electronic payment services firm leaves to to 1.5 million payroll and gift card holders in the US at risk of fraud. Up to 1.1 million social security records were also exposed as a result of the breach.

The affected pre-paid cards include payroll cards and open-loop gift cards. PINs for all PIN-enabled cards are being reset as a precaution. RBS WorldPay has pledged to make sure its customers are not left out of pocket as a result of any fraud stemming from the attack. The firm is also offering 12 months complimentary membership to a credit monitoring service to those whose personal information was exposed as a result of the breach.

RBS WorldPay notified law enforcement and regulators about the attack on 10 November but waited until 23 December before publishing advice to potentially affected customers. The timing of its announcement raises suspicions that the firm is releasing bad news at a time when it is likely to go largely unnoticed.

The attack has been linked to the fraudulent misuse of 100 payroll cards, all of which have since been deactivated.

Details of the attack itself, much less who might have pulled it off, remain sketchy. RBS WorldPay has pledged to improve its security defences to prevent similar attacks in future.

RBS WorldPay's statement on the attack, and its response, can be found here (PDF). ®

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