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Credit card processor Heartland says system was breached

NEW YORK, Jan 20 (Reuters) - Credit-card processor Heartland Payment Systems HPY.N said on Tuesday cyber thieves breached its system in 2008 and stole credit card information.

The company said cardholders would not be held responsible for unauthorized, fraudulent charges made by third parties.

Heartland said it was alerted by Visa and MasterCard of suspicious activity surrounding processed card transactions and started an investigation, which uncovered software that compromised data that crossed Heartland’s network.

“We found evidence of an intrusion last week and immediately notified federal law enforcement officials as well as the card brands,” said Chief Financial Officer Robert Baldwin.

The company said it immediately took a number of steps to secure its systems. It also created a website -- -- to provide information about the incident.

Heartland delivers credit/debit/prepaid card processing, payroll, check management and payments solutions to more than 250,000 business locations across the United States.

The company’s shares closed down $1.26, or 8.2 percent, at $14.18 on the New York Stock Exchange. (Reporting by Michael Erman; Editing by Kim Coghill)