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Mastercard opens European security resilience unit

Mastercard’s European Cyber Resilience Centre will bring together its partners and other industry bodies to support enterprise resilience

Mastercard has begun development of a new Cyber Security Resilience Centre at its European headquarters in Belgium, designed to foster regional collaboration and innovation in security between industry and public sector and regulatory bodies.

The first such centre Mastercard has opened outside of North America, the organisation said it plans to bring together a diverse pool of talent from across its global community to focus on the threats faced by the payments ecosystem in Europe.

This will include various national cyber security agencies such as the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), industry bodies, law enforcement and central banks.

“Financial services will always be at the top of the target list for attackers due to the vast pool of customer data and credentials under our responsibility,” said Mastercard’s European president Javier Perez.

“Our European Cyber Resilience Centre improves collaboration among key organisations, helping to ensure businesses and individuals feel secure when sharing information online,” he added.

The organisation claimed that the new centre – which will operate out of an interim facility from this spring ahead of an official facility planned to open in 2021 – will “shorten the lines of communication” among its internal security teams, and externally to customers, partners and other stakeholders.

It hopes this will bring a number of benefits, notably improving its response time and effectiveness during major global cyber security events or other incidents – such as natural disasters – that may impact on enterprise resilience, as well as helping ensure compliance with differing privacy laws around the world.

It also hopes to establish a baseline of intelligence sharing with law enforcement and intelligence agencies to take the lead on joint responses to cyber crime and deepen knowledge and best practice sharing around Europe.

“The security and privacy of our customers’ data is paramount. Fraudsters and hackers know no borders or nationalities, so threats can strike from every corner of the world. Only a joint effort that involves all parties will be able to place Europe on the frontline of enterprise resilience,” added Perez.

“This new centre will synchronise our global resources and partners to constantly seek and adopt the best practices for us and our customer network.”

With many millions of credit card customers worldwide, Mastercard has long played a leading role in cyber security for the financial services industry.

Speaking to Computer Weekly’s sister title SearchSecurity in 2018, Mastercard’s CISO Ron Green detailed some of the cutting-edge security programmes that the business operates. These include an artificial intelligence (AI) backed early detection programme that helps issuers make better-informed decisions about whether or not they should approve a financial transaction.

It also operates a so-called Fusion Centre internally, which brings together staffers from various departments, including its security operation centres (SOCs), regular IT operations, communications, customer service and legal, to collaborate on joined-up approaches to cyber security.

Read more about security for financial services

  • Financial services are among the most attractive targets for cyber attackers, security researchers reveal, with phishing and credential stuffing among the top threats.
  • Cloud security concerns have ebbed among financial services providers, as the panoply of presenters like Capital One, Discover, Barclays and AQR showed at AWS re:Inforce.
  • Singapore’s Cyber Security Agency has partnered the Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Centre to glean cyber threat intelligence for the country’s financial industry.
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