Visa’s Ellen Richey: A ‘squadron of aircraft’ versus ‘a squadron of hackers’

Video: Washington Post Live editor Mary Jordan asks Ellen Richey, Visa's chief enterprise risk officer, who she should contact in the case of a breach. ”Generally speaking, we call the Secret Service,” says Richey. Then, former deputy secretary of homeland security Jane Lute recounts for Washington Post Live's 2013 Cybersecurity Summit a real life anecdote of breach.

As part of its 2013 Cybersecurity Summit, Washington Post Live convened leading national security officials, industry experts and journalists for conversations addressing cyber risks and the future of cyber defense.

Ellen Richey, chief enterprise risk officer, Visa


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We process 30,000 transactions a second, about 56 billion transactions a year. As the payment system grows, the number of dollars being stolen from the private industry keeps growing with it. I am concerned about where that money is going and what the criminal sector is doing with it. It particularly worries me that we’re not seizing the opportunity diplomatically to go after organized crime in those countries where it isn’t being shut down. I have been told that we are aware of who some of these people are and where they live. We have pictures of their houses. But we, as a law enforcement community, are unable to shut down the activity.

We’re trying to work with law enforcement. We actually provide this information [about the hackers] ourselves. We get it from the American banks to facilitate the prosecution. We’ve done this in dozens of countries across the world.

If a foreign government sent a squadron of aircraft to bomb my data center, I presume the government would do something to protect me. But if a foreign government or its protected actors in organized crime send a squadron of hackers to attack my data center, the government doesn’t seem to be able to protect us.

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