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Global Payments, the payment processor, said that a breach of its systems reported earlier this year may have compromised more information than previously thought.
The company, which processes transactions involving Visa, MasterCard and American Express, said on Tuesday that its ongoing investigation had revealed that hackers may have gained access to servers containing personal information from its merchant customers.
“It is unclear whether the intruders looked at or took any personal information from the company’s systems,” it said.
When Global Payments first revealed the breach in March, the company said that the thieves may have accessed card numbers, but not cardholders’ names, addresses and social security numbers.
Global Payments said that its investigation has established that the actual card numbers that may have been stolen did exceed its previous estimate of 1.5m.
Company officials were not immediately available to elaborate on what kind of personal information may have been compromised.
Global Payments works behind the scenes in card transactions, serving as the seventh-largest processor of card payments for merchants, according to The Nilson Report. In 2011, Global Payments processed more than $120bn of transactions using Visa and MasterCard debit and credit cards.
The breach has prompted Visa and MasterCard to remove the company from a list of data processors that meet industry standards for security.
In the coming days, Global Payments will notify individuals whose personal information may have been hacked and provide them with identity protection insurance at no cost.
Paul Garcia, the chairman and chief executive of Global Payments, said: “We sincerely apologise for this incident and are working diligently to conclude our investigation. We are committed to fully resolve any issues arising from this matter and we, of course, continue to provide uninterrupted transaction processing for our customers worldwide.”
The company plans to provide information on how much the breach will cost no later than its July 26 earnings call.
The share price of Global Payments has fallen about 20 per cent since news of the breach surfaced. On Tuesday, the stock rose 0.8 per cent to $42.19.