The Green Sheet Online Edition
June 14, 2010 • Issue 10:06:01
When it was revealed, in early 2009, that Heartland Payment Systems Inc. had suffered a major data breach, the future of the processing giant was very much in question. But the breach prompted Heartland to take a leading role in revamping the payments industry's data security approach.
Heartland co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Robert O. Carr helped steer the formation of the Payments Processing Information Sharing Council, a forum for exchanging ideas in the fight against data theft. Carr also led the charge in Heartland's development of E3 Secure, Heartland's end-to-end encryption network for card accepting merchants, which was launched commercially in May 2010.
Advanced encryption and automated encryption key changes
The technology is designed to encrypt card information from the moment it enters a merchant's POS system (when it is swiped) up through its delivery to the payment processor to which the merchant is connected. The encryption employed, known as the Advanced Encryption Standard, is reputedly among the most sophisticated encryption formulas in use today.
"Centuries ago, cities across the world gave up on trying to protect themselves by making walls higher and thicker and more distant with motes," Carr said. "The enemy was always finding new ways to destroy the walls or circumvent the security efforts with Trojan horse attacks. We believe it is important to make card data indiscernible as it enters the payment cycle so, if the firewalls are too weak, the enemy gains nothing of commercial value. We believe this is the enhanced security method the payment industry requires in today's world."
The E3 features a layering of software and tamper resistant hardware that's designed to prevent skimming and other rogue modifications. The E3 also automatically changes the network's encryption keys at regular intervals. Heartland has pledged that merchants who use E3 Secure are insured against all breach related fines in the event that the network's security bulwark is thwarted by a hacker.
Heartland Payment Systems Inc.
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