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Visa teams with FireEye for cyber-threat sharing program

The companies plan to use shared threat intelligence as part of a cybersecurity offering geared toward retailers and card issuers.

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Payments giant Visa is joining forces with the security company FireEye to share cyber-threat data and intelligence.

Similar to other threat-sharing initiatives, the companies plan to make their cybersecurity intelligence communal, creating a trove of data that can be used to spot vulnerabilities, prepare for known attacks and launch more rapid responses.

They're calling it the Visa and FireEye Community Threat Intelligence (CTI) offering, and it will be sold through Visa as part of its fraud risk service. FireEye will run the web-based program, which Visa said is a "significant improvement over current industry practices of sharing threat intelligence via e-mail or static documents."

The companies are marketing the service toward retailers and card issuers, with the latter referring to banks that issue Visa-branded debit and credit cards.

"By combining Visa's unparalleled view into global payments and FireEye's industry-leading cyber security expertise, we intend to bring faster, actionable intelligence directly to players across the payments system," Visa CEO Charlie Scharf said in a statement.

The practice of cyber-threat sharing is gaining support in both the retail and tech communities, and also in Washington. Last year the National Retail Federation created its own cybersecurity cooperative to help retailers share threats with each other, as well as with government agencies, law enforcement and partners in the financial services sector.

In March, the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee introduced a bill which would make sharing cybersecurity data easier for companies by removing the prospect of potential litigation.

The bill has received some pushback by security experts, however. In April, a group of security specialists said threat-sharing is already possible without the need of legislation, and that the bill could actually make it harder to spot the clues that can prevent further attacks.