If you have a Visa or MasterCard, it's time to start paying more attention to those statements: A payment processor both companies use has had some kind of security breach, and while the details are still murky, these things don't tend to end well.
What we know right now, per The Wall Street Journal's Robin Sidel and Andrew R. Johnson, is that a company called Global Payments has experienced a breach that "has put some 50,000 cardholders at risk, according to people with knowledge of the situation." That report stemmed from a Krebs on Security post from earlier Friday that just said Visa and Mastercard had been issuing warnings to their customers but warned, "Sources in the financial sector are calling the breach 'massive,' and say it may involve more than 10 million compromised card numbers."
That is not an outrageous number, considering the amount of payments companies like Global Payments process, and the extent to which they've been breached in the past. Brian Krebs, the blogger who broke Friday's news, reported on a breach at Heartland Payments in 2009, which at the time turned out to be one of the biggest ever, compromising tens of millions of accounts and costing Heartland tens of millions of dollars. The story of the Global Payments breach is in the early stages, but the company's stock has already dropped 9.1 percent on Friday before trading was halted on the news of the breach. Things are already getting ugly.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.