By Grant Gross
IDG News Service
Credit card transactions in the U.S. are often not encrypted, and credit
card vendors, payment processors and retailers need to embrace an
encryption standard to protect credit card numbers, the CEO of a
breached payment processor said Monday.
Credit card numbers are not now required in payment card industry
guidelines to be encrypted in transit between retailers, payment
processors and card issuers, Robert Carr, chairman and CEO of Heartland
Payment Systems, told a U.S. Senate committee. Heartland in January
announced the discovery of a data breach that left tens of millions of
credit card numbers exposed to a gang of hackers.
"I now know that this industry needs to, and can, do more to better
protect it against the ever-more-sophisticated methods used by these
cybercriminals," Carr told the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental
Affairs Committee. "I believe it is critical to implement new
technology, not just at Heartland, but industrywide." The purpose of the
committee hearing was, in part, to determine whether new legislation is
needed to fight cybercrime.
Heartland is pushing for the credit card industry to adopt an end-to-end
encryption standard, he said, and the company is deploying
tamper-resistant point-of-sale terminals at its member retailers. "Our
goal is to completely remove payment account numbers of credit and debit
cards and magnetic-stripe data so they are never accessible in a useable
format in the merchant or processor systems," Carr said.
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