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Credit-card breach hits VISA, MasterCard

VISA and MasterCard alerted their card-issuer banks of a major breach of a payments processor, in which as many as 10 million cards may be affected. According to the official report and written notices, the hackers would have everything they need to clone counterfeit cards. A forensic company and the US Secret Service are conducting an investigation.

The payments processor also released a statement that confirmed it had "identified and self-reported unauthorized access into a portion of its processing system." and said on its website that it processes "billions and billions of transactions per year for over a million points of service across North American."

VISA, meanwhile, issued its own statement that said in part: "VISA Inc. is aware of a potential data compromise incident at a third party entity affecting card account information from all major card brands. There has been no breach of VISA systems, including its core processing network VISANet." MasterCard said its employees are "investigating a potential account data compromise event of a U.S.-based entity and, as a result, we have alerted payment card issuers regarding certain MasterCard accounts that are potentially at risk."

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