Certegy to pay $975K, undergo annual security audit

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Certegy Check Services has settled with the Florida attorney general's office over a 2007 data breach that resulted in the theft of nearly six million personal records.

Under the agreement announced Friday, Certegy, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Jacksonville, Fla.-based Fidelity National Information Services (FIS), must pay $850,000 to the state to cover its investigative costs and attorney fees, as well as $125,000 to help fund a statewide crime prevention program.

In addition, Certegy, a check cashing verification service, must maintain a comprehensive information security program to assess IT risks and protect personal data. The company also must contract with a third-party assessor each year for five years to monitor and test its security controls.

The settlement follows a separate 2008 agreement that stemmed from a consumer class-action lawsuit filed against Certegy. Under that resolution, Certegy offered victims credit and bank account monitoring, identity theft reimbursement capped at $4 million, reimbursement of some credit monitoring fees, and enhanced security.

Near the end of 2007, William Sullivan, 54, a former Certegy senior database administrator, admitted to the breach and said he sold the stolen records to a direct marketer. Sullivan, who was fined $500,000, currently is serving a 57-month sentence in federal prison.

The total number of stolen records originally was listed at 2.3 million, then raised to 8.5 million. However, the final number was lowered to 5.9 million after duplicate and fake records were removed from the tally, according to the settlement with the attorney general.

Certegy has maintained that customers faced no risk of fraud as a result of the breach, but some affected individuals publicly have stated they were financially harmed by the incident.

A spokeswoman for FIS did not respond to a request for comment on Monday.

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