After Heartland Payment Systems disclosed a 2008 security breach that exposed data from potentially tens of millions of credit cards, its CEO today called upon the payment card industry to better protect customers’ data. CEO Robert Carr likened his battle cry to the coming together of pharmaceutical companies after the medicine tampering tragedies of the 1980’s: "Just as the Tylenol crisis engendered a whole new packaging standard, our aspiration is to use this recent breach incident to help the payments industry find ways to protect its data - and therefore businesses and consumers - much more effectively."
Amazingly, it appears the company has already found those “ways,” assuring customers on its newly minted security-breach-info website that Heartland will “implement a next-generation program designed to flag network anomalies in real-time.” The company added that it signed on additional customers just this week, merchants who maybe either weren’t cowed by the magnitude of the security breach or perhaps were impressed by how quickly the company found the solution to its problem.
The press release goes on: “For the past year, Carr has been a strong advocate for industry adoption of end-to-end encryption.... While he believes this technology does not wholly exist on any payments platform today, Heartland has been working to develop this solution and is more committed than ever to deploying it....”
Commitment is a beautiful thing. And I have to admit, I do admire Heartland’s PR team for its proactive approach. Now if I could just summon some respect for its IT executives’ proactive capabilities.