12. May 2010 · Comments Off on Heartland breach expenses reach $139 million – so far · Categories: Breaches, Legal · Tags:

Computerworld is reporting that Heartland Payment Systems' recent quarterly financial filing revealed that the credit card payment processor's expenses related to their 2008 breach of 130 million credit cards have risen to $139.4 million.

This is a far cry from the $12 million CEO Bob Carr said was the appropriate amount to set aside in December 2009 when he settled with American Express for $3.6 million. In January 2010, just one month later, Heartland settled for $60 million with Visa.

The Computerworld article also reports that a recent Ponemon Institute study shows that the average cost per security breach in the U.S. rose to $6.75 million. The "per record' cost is averaging $204.

First, while not to invalidate, or even question, the results of this study, I would like to point out that it was sponsored
by PGP Corporation (being acquired by Symantec). 

Second, I am not a big fan of averages. See the Flaw of Averages by Sam Savage of Stanford. The point being that you cannot use the average when calculating your risk of the cost of a breach. And Heartland's costs make the point.