Security Experts:

American Express Warns Cardholders of Data Breach

American Express informed customers last week that their payment card information may have been compromised after a third party service provider suffered a data breach.

Information associated with current or previously issued American Express cards, including account numbers, names and expiration dates, might have been obtained by unauthorized parties, Amex said in a data breach notice submitted to California’s attorney general.

The financial services company highlighted that the incident has not affected its own systems. Cardholders have been informed that their account is being monitored for fraud and they are not liable for any fraudulent charges.

It’s worth pointing out that the breach is dated December 7, 2013 on the website of California’s attorney general. The name of the affected service provider, which Amex says is engaged by numerous merchants, has not been made public.

“This breach is another example of a broken chain of custody with confidential data. AMEX protects it, but then relinquishes control to another party that has weak controls which the bad actors know how to exploit. This is exactly why a ‘persistent security’ approach needs to be employed, one where a file can only be accessed a limited number of times on specific PCs, and if someone tries to steal, the file it can’t be opened,” Fasoo President Bill Blake told SecurityWeek.

“As an AMEX card user myself, one of the things that I have done is turn on the immediate notification when a purchase is made with the card or when the card is not present. Members can choose the amount limit on the transaction and the type of notification (text, email, etc.) It gives users immediate notification, as well as some level of peace of mind,” Blake added.

Related: Card Breach Affects 250 Hyatt Hotels Worldwide

Related: Landry's Investigates Possible Card Breach

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Eduard Kovacs (@EduardKovacs) is a contributing editor at SecurityWeek. He worked as a high school IT teacher for two years before starting a career in journalism as Softpedia’s security news reporter. Eduard holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial informatics and a master’s degree in computer techniques applied in electrical engineering.