This could be historic. The dubious distinction is that this might be the largest security breach ever noted. There may be in excess of 100 million personal files compromised:

“Heartland Payment Systems (HPY) on Tuesday disclosed that intruders hacked into the computers it uses to process 100 million payment card transactions per month for 175,000 merchants.

Robert Baldwin, Heartland’s president and CFO, said in a USA TODAY interview that the intruders had access to Heartland’s system for “longer than weeks” in late 2008. The number of victims is unknown. “We just don’t have the information right now,” Baldwin said.”

link: Hackers breach Heartland Payment credit card system

It not be possible to afford identity theft protection for all the possible victims. At the industry rate of ten dollars per year for identity theft monitoring, the costs would be prohibitive. At this point, because of the magnitude of this security breach, it may be prudent to put a freeze on credit reports and initiate personal identity theft measures.

Catherine Forsythe