The Security War Is On: Hackers And The Target Security Breach

The War Is On: How This Happened

There have been thieves since the dawn of humanity. Where there is an opportunity for free gain there will always be someone there to take advantage of it. Our technological advancements in the past few decades have created even more possibilities for thieves, giving way to hacking as a full-time job, and making theft anonymous and difficult to trace. It doesn’t help that thieves and maniacs seem to be far ahead of the game. The US lazily uses outdated credit cards that the rest of the world moved past years ago. Customers are becoming too comfortable with handing out their data without checking for security measures. Companies like Target and a multitude of others overlook simple security measures, like point of sale or POS scanning, that could prevent hackers from getting inside in the first place or at the very least could stop hackers before they’ve harvested 40 million credit card numbers. Let that sink in just a little: 40 MILLION. 40 Million people who were probably out Christmas shopping from November 27th to December 15th are now at risk of identity theft, losing their savings, going bankrupt, or dealing with a damaged credit score.

The Security War Is On: And Why We’re On The Losing Side

James Wester, research director of IDC Financial Insights said in an interview, “…[it] is kind of mystifying at this point,” Wester said. “It seems like from a security standpoint, Target was doing all of the right things, and somehow this code was put on the POS system, which isn’t a normal access point for hackers.” But was Target doing all of the right things? If maleware was put into the check-out terminals to steal data, as experts believe, it could have been caught with POS security scanning. This form of scanning sweeps the check-out terminals or point-of-sale terminals for security holes and vulnerabilities. Another problem is that Americans are still using the outdated magnetic strip credit cards instead of the micro-chipped cards which are much harder to recreate and use.

Five Ways To Fight Back And Protect Your Family In The Future

1. Ask your bank to switch to more secure credit/debit cards that use a microchip instead of a magnetic strip. Check your credit card statements multiple times every month for strange chargers.

2. If you’re a merchant make sure that you are PCI Compliant and have all possible security measure in place online. If you have a traditional brick and mortar store make sure that you have POS scanning. If you’re a customer always check security measures before swiping your card at a checkout terminal or providing sensitive data online. There should be a sticker that says who scanned the site/terminal.

3. Beware of email alerts that ask you for any personal information. It doesn’t matter how real or convincing it appears. Real companies do not ask you for your credit card information. This is an identity theft scam, don’t fall for it.

4. If you shopped at Target during the security breach it would be wise to change your PIN immediately. Target announced that PIN’s were stolen too.

5. Debit cards have a liability of $50 if the suspicious behavior is reported within 2 days. After 2 days it jumps up to $500 dollars. Even if you report the problem immediately it can take weeks for the bank to investigate the issue so you could be without money until it’s resolved. Prevention is the way to go in these cases.

Bonus Tip: Use cash when possible. When it’s not possible be as cautious as possible. Remember, unchecked technology is the bees knees of thieves.

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