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May 27, 2011

  • News:  Aussie Banks' Breach Cancels Cards 

    Some Australian banks have cancelled credit cards due to a security breach. Commonwealth Bank, Westpac and its St. George unit have cancelled thousands of credit cards due to the latest security issue to affect their customers. Police are investigating the matter but Commonwealth Bank has decided to issue replacement cards to about 8,000 customers who could have been affected. Westpac acknowledges the problem and has blocked a small numbers of credit cards as a result of the issue but said the data breach did not occur at their bank.

    Commonwealth Bank said while conducting their normal card fraud monitoring they had become aware of a "potential credit card compromise" through an Australian merchant acquired by another bank. A Commonwealth Bank spokesperson said they immediately alerted the Card Schemes MasterCard and Visa to the compromise as well as the other bank involved. St. George Bank, which is owned by Westpac, also cancelled a number of cards as a result of the security issues but said there had been no compromise of data. Both Westpac and St. George reminded their customers they would not be liable for any fraudulent charges to their credit cards.

    A spokesman for Commonwealth Bank had "roactively contacted potentially impacted customers" via SMS, email and letters to tell then that their credit card accounts may have been affected and were proactively cancelled and they will be promptly reissued a new card. They also assured their customers they will not be responsible for any fraud and they would be fully refunded any fees incurred. In the wake of two highly publicized data breaches at Sony's PlayStation Network and Dell Australia, Australian banks have been trying to upgrade their ageing computer systems. Even with all of the banks communications, customers seem to be frustrated when trying to get information after their account was cancelled.

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