The recent attack on Target’s credit card systems happened despite the millions of dollars spent yearly on credit card security measures. Experts believe that the breach was bound to happen; outdated technology and lax consumer protections make stealing credit card information from retailers an extremely profitable endeavor.
It is believed that Target’s breach was caused by a malicious virus that was installed on their systems. It is extremely likely that the breach was an inside job; usually, when breaches like this occur, they only happen at a single store or terminal. The size of this breach suggests that an employee or someone with access to Target’s network installed the virus on all of their systems.
The technology that American credit cards use is outdated and easy to exploit; the magnetic strips on the back of American credit cards are easily duplicated. These strips are responsible for sending all of your financial information between retailers and the banks. When thieves have access to this, they have access to your credit card account.
Countries in Europe have patched this vulnerability by embedding computer chips in all of their credit cards. The chips create a unique PIN number to encrypt your credit card every time it is swiped at a terminal; this PIN makes it very difficult to spoof credit card activity.
Generally, businesses have their own self-regulated standards when it comes to protecting a customer’s data. Many of these businesses concentrate on the aftermath of a breach, and and they don’t concentrate on preventing it from happening.
Until laws change in the United States, a company like Target needs to concentrate on notifying customers as soon as a suspected breach occurs. Today, reporting laws vary from state to state; to qualify as a breach, a combination of personal information needs to be leaked. Some states give free passes to big businesses; this can allow a breach to get out of control.
To prevent future problems, retailers need to keep on top of their data. If they notice particular information being leaked, they need to tell consumers immediately. If they do this, people can take proactive measures to help stop the bad guys from printing up new credit cards using stolen data.
Looking for managed services or desktop virtualization services? Or are you concerned about your network security? Look no further than Nextrio, your trusted Tucson IT Services company. They offer proven IT security solutions in addition to their various other services. Call them at (520) 519-6301 today for more information.