Technical experts are now claiming that with the increased sophistication of hacking, it is likely most credit and debit card users will at one time in their lives have their information hacked. In fact, many experts claim it’s not a matter of if, but when. If you have had your data hacked in most cases it’s irritating, but even if your data is sold on the black market, most consumers will not have to pay for any of the fraudulent transactions.
But how do security breaches affect companies? Take Target, for instance. Target reported last week that up to tens of millions of its customers may have had their credit and debit card information stolen. This means that hackers now have emails, PIN numbers and emails of millions of Target customers. And financial experts claim that the biggest hit will be to Target, not the consumers.
In fact, it’s likely that the Target breach could cost Target an estimated $50 million as they pay for fraudulent purchases, many of which will be used online. Target is urging customers to contact their banks and cancel credit and debit cards they believe may have been breached.
How did the hackers breach Target’s security system?
For weeks Target has given few details about the security breach. Now we know that hackers were able to infiltrate Target’s massive database of more than 70 million Target Shoppers and extract names, emails, phone numbers and addresses. They also were able to collect data from Target’s point-of-sale system and collect data from magnetic stripes on another 40 million debit and credit cards.
Security experts also warn that hackers who collect this level of detail from consumers may also have a better chance of conning you a second time by posing as law enforcement officials, Target employees, or banking contacts. Target has warned about giving out any information to anyone over the phone. Target has established a method of contact, posted information online and will provide free credit monitoring to certain qualifying customers.
What do you do in the meantime? Protecting your digital data needs to be a common practice by all shoppers. Whether its shredding documents, creating strong passwords, monitoring your banking statements and changing your passwords frequently- we all have to do a better job at protecting ourselves from hackers.
We all pay a high price for security breaches
Although you may not have to pay for fraudulent charges when your accounts are hacked, the truth is we all eventually pay. It costs hundreds of thousands of dollars to hire security analysts, monitor accounts and protect a company’s data. The more breaches, the more security has to be ramped up. The cost to pay for these services is eventually passed to all consumers who will have to pay for higher priced goods and services. Just like pirating in the entertainment industry is not a victimless crime- neither is hacking.
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