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Heartland Agreed to Pay MasterCard $41.4 Million

Merchant acquirer Heartland Payment Systems Inc. on May 19, 2010 disclosed that it had made the settlement valued $41.4 Million with MasterCard Inc. as part of its recent massive clean up drive after the discloser of payment card industry's biggest data breach.

The settlement will result in the reimbursement to MasterCard debit and credit card issuers for the loss incurred due to the breach that had come into notice during January 2009.

As per Heartland, the breach took place owing to the insertion of malware by hackers into the computer system, but the authority didn't give any information about the disclosed reports after hacking in January 2009.

According to the officials investigating the case, nearly 100 Million records had been exposed owing to the breach, a percentage which was later exploited for fraud.

Albert Gonzalez, a notorious hackers and former US Secret Service informant, was held responsible for the attack in August 2009 together with a similar attack on Hannaford Brothers and attacks on ATM systems leased by 7-Eleven.

According to the prosecutors, Gonzalez gave the hacking platform on lease and tested malware in place of his accomplishes. Russian hackers were also indulged in a credit card fraud ring. Gonzalez was taken into the custody and got imprisonment for 20 years in March 2010 as a punishment after he had pleaded guilty to all the charges held against him.

Expressing his views on the settlement after a long drawn legal battle, Bob Carr, Chairman and CEO, Heartland, stated that they were happy with the equitable settlement that could help MasterCard-branded issuers to re-compensate the losses incurred from the breach, as reported by infosecurity-us on May 20, 2010. The statement released by Heartland also disclosed that MasterCard would encourage its card issuers to take payment offers from the agreement.

Moreover, this is the third settlement that has been reached by Heartland with major card brands. In a previous settlement with Visa, Heartland agreed on nearly $60 Million. It also negotiated with American Express for $3.6 Million. The combined fund equate to $105 Million, which means that Heartland should pay $105 Million to settle accounts with MasterCard Visa, and American Express.

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