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Target credit card breach spotlights keylogger theft

The recent events involving the Target Credit Card Breach is spreading fear and panic across the online community. The Commonwealth of Virginia has recently canceled over 4000 EPPI Cards that are used for the Department of Social Services to issue benefits and alimony payments to those in their care. In light of the recent denial of national unemployment benefits to millions of American’s, this only adds fuel to the flame of desperation for many.

But who is to blame for these breaches in security? Many IT experts believe that the average online consumer is simply ignoring the warning calls that have been so prevalent in the news for over a decade, the warnings to safeguard and frequently change our passwords.

But is this enough? Keylogger theft is so advanced today that hackers can place this software on nearly anyone’s computer without their knowledge. This software basically copies every single keystroke that is typed into the computer device. This includes all passwords. Keylogger theft programs can even take visual snapshots of the screen as users are surfing online. If this is true, then consistently changing our passwords seems almost useless.

A recent report by the Bangor News today shows that the most common passwords being used today are still 123456 and 12345678. A recent CNN poll shows that the majority of online consumers are asking the question,

“What’s the worst that can happen?”

When it comes to hackers stealing a password of a simple website or Amazon account by means of keylogger theft, this may be opening the door to the victim being targeted to even further, more severe consequences. For example, by gaining access to one’s Amazon account, this could easily lead to entry into the credit card and debit card accounts, snowballing into access of personal checking and savings accounts. These accounts are listed with the owner’s social security number included. It is only a few additional short steps for hackers to steal the victim’s complete identify altogether.

Eventually, in most cases this can all be repaired. But the time, money, and inconvenience to the victim is alarming. “Fixing” these hacking issues takes a great deal of time, and companies involved with the breaches are often slow to respond. The hacking scandal at Target received worldwide press, leading them to react quickly. Your local bank and hardware store may not be so speedy. In fact, these smaller business usually lack the technical know-how to fix the issues at hand.