Charge Anywhere, a company that routes payment transactions between merchants and payment card processors, said that malicious software planted on its network may have accessed unencrypted sensitive cardholder data for almost five years.
In a statement, the company warned that some of the card data it sends or receives appears in plaintext, allowing attackers to copy it and use it in fraudulent transactions. Details including names, account numbers, expiration dates, and verification codes are known to be exposed for transactions that occurred this year from August 17 through September 24, although it's possible transactions dating back to November 5, 2009 may also have been accessed, the statement said. The disclosure came after company officials hired an unidentified security firm to investigate the breach.
"The investigation revealed that an unauthorized person initially gained access to the network and installed sophisticated malware that was then used to create the ability to capture segments of outbound network traffic," the release stated. "Much of the outbound traffic was encrypted. However, the format and method of connection for certain outbound messages enabled the unauthorized person to capture and ultimately then gain access to plain text payment card transaction authorization requests."