Visa puts Heartland on probation over breach — but what about RBS WorldPay?

Anthony M. Freed of Information Security Resources reports that Visa has put Heartland Payment Systems on probation.

As of February 11, 2009 Visa’s Global List of PCI DSS Validated Service Providers had asterisked Heartland Payment Systems as being under review. Heartland is not on the March 12th list.

The following quotes from Visa’s announcement are from Freed’s story:

Removal from Visa’s List of Compliant Service Providers – Visa has removed Heartland from its online list of Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) compliant service providers. HPS has advised, however, that it is aggressively working on remediation and re-validation of its systems to comply with PCI DSS standards. The company will be relisted once it revalidates its PCI DSS compliance using a Qualified Security Assessor and meets other related compliance conditions.

System Participation – HPS is now in a probationary period, during which it is subject to a number of risk conditions including more stringent security assessments, monitoring and reporting. Subject to these conditions, Heartland will continue to serve as a processor in the Visa system.

Fines will also be assessed against the sponsoring banks:

Fines – In accordance with Visa Operating Regulations, fines will be assessed to Heartland’s sponsoring banks. Such fines are part of the program Visa uses to assure compliance with system rules. Ongoing compliance with PCI DSS helps keep the system more secure for all participants.

Banks and credit unions will be able to recover a portion of their costs, but all fraud must be reported by May 19:

Account Data Compromise Recovery – Visa has determined that this event qualifies for the Account Data Compromise Recovery (ADCR) program. Subject to its terms, this program provides issuers the ability to recover a portion of their losses related to accounts that are determined to be the subject of a breach, by assessing acquirers for the ADCR financial liability. An acquirer’s ADCR financial liability is determined based on a percentage of magnetic stripe-read counterfeit fraud and specified operating expense liability amounts. Issuers will have until May 19th to report fraud losses related to this event to Visa. Until this reporting window closes, specific recovery amounts cannot be determined. Visa will provide clients with additional information as it becomes available.

Visa also continues to support the PCI DSS standards. Certainly, if Heartland has been removed from the compliant list, that would suggest that Visa does believe that the standards were not the problem.

No statement from Heartland has as yet been posted to Heartland’s breach site in reaction to this action, but this site has written to them to ask for a statement and will update this story as more information becomes available.

Interestingly, RBS WorldPay, which was also asterisked last month on Visa’s list of PCI DSS Validated Service Providers is also missing from the March 12th approved list, raising the question of whether Visa has also put RBS WorldPay on probation. Attempts to reach RBS WorldPay for a reaction were referred to a phone number that was neither answered nor forwarded to voicemail.

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