TheTimesTribune.com, Corbin, KY

Local News

January 19, 2009

Hackers affect debit and ATM networks

Leads Forcht Bank to disable some customer debit cards

Times-Tribune Staff Report

Forcht Bank disabled 8,500 customer debit cards this week after learning they could have potentially been hacked into by persons creating duplicate cards.

Eddie Woodruff, chief operations officer for the bank, confirmed that 8,500 of the bank’s roughly 22,000 total debit cards had been deactivated, but the move was primarily a precaution.

“Right now, none of our customers have reported any fraudulent activity on the cards,” Woodruff said. “We’re just trying to take every precaution.”

The cards were comprised when a retail merchant’s computer system was hacked, Woodruff said. The breach affected customers of multiple banks and multiple debit and ATM networks.

“Our debit card processor, which is a company called STAR, they had a retail customer, we’re not exactly sure who the retail customer was, and the information we believe may have been compromised,” he said.

First Data Corporation, which operates the STAR Debit and ATM Network, would not comment on how many other banks were affected, but did release in a statement Monday that "the debit card issue we were alerted to could affect not only STAR but also other debit networks."

The STAR system is used by 2 million ATM and retail locations across the country, according to its Web site.

“While we do not comment on specific matters pertaining to our customers, we can tell you this situation is not related to any First Data processing systems or practices,” stated Nancy Etheredge, spokesperson for First Data. “We are working with our clients, the card associations and card issuing and acquiring banks to monitor and help mitigate the issue and protect consumers.”

Forcht Bank customers whose debit cards were deactivated will receive new cards within 7-10 days.

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