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Last year’s statistics are in, and they once again show that data security breaches remain a pervasive risk. For instance, Privacy Rights Clearinghouse reported that 613 of the 4,176 publicly announced data breaches between 2005 and 2013 occurred last year. Many, and certainly the ones that attract much publicity, involve attacks on payment card information. Yet the media often fails to mention one of a merchant’s greatest potential exposure risks: the contractual web through which card brands, like Visa and MasterCard, may try to impose assessments for card rules’ violations on victimized merchants.

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