California DMV reports possible breach of credit card data

by David R. Baker, San Francisco Chronicle

CA-DMV_ccThe California Department of Motor Vehicles is reporting a possible data security breach in its credit card processing services but said it had not yet found evidence that its computer system had been hacked.

The department did not describe in detail the nature of the possible breach. But the news comes at a time when extensive hacks at retailers Target and Neiman Marcus have raised doubts about the security of credit and debit card information.

The DMV, which lets Californians pay many fees online, first learned of the potential problem from law enforcement authorities, according to a statement the department posted Saturday on its website. Aided by state and federal investigators, the department is seeking information from credit card companies as well as the firm that processes credit card transactions for the DMV.

“Protecting the identity and security of our customers is our highest priority, and we fully understand the potential impact any breach of security can have,” said Armando Botello, public information officer for the DMV. “The department has implemented heightened monitoring of all DMV website traffic and credit card transactions. We will immediately notify any affected DMV customers as quickly as possible if we find any issue. DMV customers are also encouraged to closely monitor their credit card statements and transactions for any fraudulent or unusual activity and report it to their credit card company immediately.”

Hackers working through one of Target’s outside vendors last year stole debit and credit card information for 40 million customers who shopped at the low-cost retailer between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15. A separate attack last year netted the card information of 350,000 Neiman Marcus customers.

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