Visa drops Global Payments from PCI compliant list

Credit card with padlock
3 Apr, 2012

Visa has droped Global Payments from its PCI compliant list, following the exposure of 1.5 million credit card numbers.

Global Payments has admitted that Visa’s decision to drop the firm from its list of PCI compliant vendors was to be expected, after its recent data breach.

Global Payments was clearly vulnerable and other processing companies likely are as well.

The card payments processor released a statement late last week confirming that up to 1.5 million credit card numbers had been stolen following a security attack on one of its systems in North America.

The firm is responsible for processing payments for several credit card companies, including Visa, Mastercard and American Express.

In a conference call yesterday, transcribed by Seeking Alpha, Global Payments’ CEO, Paul Garcia, said it was unlikely that any customer names, addresses, bank details or social security information had been compromised by the breach.

“We are making significant progress in defining and rectifying the event,” said Garcia. “Based on the forensic analysis to date, network monitoring and additional safety measures, we believe this incident is contained.”

Even so, he confirmed that Visa has dropped Global Payments from its list of PCI compliant vendors. A situation the firm is working to get reversed.

“Visa has removed us from the PCI compliance list pending the results and resolution of our work,” he said. “Upon reflection, this was not unexpected, and we are focused on the remediation measures necessary for full and timely PCI reinstatement.”

The PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) regulations are designed to safeguard cardholder information and must be met by any company processing credit card details.

Garcia insisted that consumers would be protected if their details had been exposed by the breach.

“The card-issuing institutions have well-established and highly-effective procedures to protect their customers. Consumers, as always, are encouraged to be vigilant by reviewing their statements and reporting any suspicious activity,” he added.

Speaking to IT Pro, Bob Tarzey, service director at analyst Quocirca, said it will be interesting to see if other credit card companies follow Visa’s stance on Global Payments’ PCI status.

“An organisation is either PCI DSS compliant or it is not. That being said the card brands will work with non-compliant organisations to rectify this situation because it is in their interests to ensure the on-going use of credit cards remains tenable [and] secure,” said Tarzey. “[Then again] trying to fix the relationship [could] be more trouble than it is worth.”

Meanwhile, Neil Roiter, research director at vendor Corero Network Security, told IT Pro that PCI DSS compliance is no protection against cyber attacks.

"Global Payments was clearly vulnerable and other processing companies likely are as well," said Roiter. "They all need to review continuously the security policies, practices and technology controls they have in place, including but not limited to encryption, access controls and authentication."