Monday, August 6, 2007

Mystery Credit Card Cancellations

This article raises more questions for me than it answers. I am referring to the article written by Stewart Carter, editor of The eCommerce Report titled "Visa confirms data tapes theft". I am assuming that this article is credible.

Data tapes containing "card data" were stolen in late May, 2007. Visa International has confirmed that "an investigation into the theft of data tapes on May 25 is ongoing and therefore we cannot comment further on this matter". Dead end.

On July 19th, the Sydney Morning Herald reported that Westpac (a large Pacific Rim bank) was cancelling Visa cards en mass. On July 24th, ZDNet reported that Virgin Money (Westpac's card partner) was cancelling MasterCard credit cards. It is unclear why Westpac and Virgin Money are cancelling so many credit cards.

Jane Counsel, Westpac’s senior media relations manager did respond to the eCommerce Report's inquiries by stating "…[T]he card data compromise which has impacted Westpac and Virgin cards relates to transactions that have occurred with a third party vendor who uses a payment gateway provided by one of the other major banks…”. "A third party vendor"??? Who?

It is clear from the article that none of the organizations involved want to take an responsibility into what could be a very significant breach. Stay tuned, as I am sure this story is far from over.

But, then again I wonder if this news is credible. I looked for both the Sydney Morning Herald and the ZDNet articles and couldn't find either. Please post them if you can find them.

1 comment:

The Trusted Toolkit said...

The ZDNet article is here:,130061744,339280311,00.htm, although this really seems unrelated too. The more I dig into Westpac the more I think I would NOT like to be a customer.

There is NO law requiring Australian financial institutions disclose breach information, nor is there any law requiring that they notify affected customers.