MasterCard Advances Consumer Data Protection

MasterCard puts incentives, tools and education into merchants' hands to help them protect consumer data.

MasterCard International on Wednesday put incentives, tools and education into merchants hands to help them protect consumer data.

The new program follows an ongoing parade of consumer data theft, with Reuters reporting the latest heist being the theft of more than 50,000 customer records from the database of Atlantis, a major Bahamas resort. The personal data included names, addresses, credit card information, Social Security numbers, driver license numbers and bank account data, according to a document filed with the Bahamas Securities and Exchange Commission.

Such identity theft is what MasterCards new program aims to squash. A major feature is new pricing for the credit card companys SecureCode security program, which allows cardholders to enter a code known only to them and the card issuer when purchasing goods online.

MasterCard SecureCode is a simple way to collect and process authentication data at a merchants site, thereby linking a cardholder to a specific online transaction.

/zimages/3/28571.gifMasterCard and Hitachi form a smart-card venture. Click here to read more.

The new, global pricing makes online merchants who support SecureCode eligible for up to 16 percent lower rates than for face-to-face transactions.

MasterCard is also rolling out free network vulnerability scans for merchants on a global basis. Scanning is a necessary step to achieve compliance with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard and in this case includes an educational component, with merchants learning how they can improve network security and achieve the standard. Participating security companies include Ambiron TrustWave, Cybertrust, One-Sec, Qualys and SecurityMetrics.

The program also includes an educational campaign with advertising, Web content and Webinars to teach merchants about security issues and resources. In addition, the company has set up a new site for merchants, at, that provides detailed, up-to-date information about security resources available to merchants. It also features links to companies offering the free PCI scans.

The Webinar series will feature current and future trends, industry issues, and best practices that merchants can use to make their operations more secure.

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