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Target customer cards hacked: Is there a way to fight back?

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It is very simple task to swipe your credit card through the machine while the magnetic strip sends your card data onto a server which ends at a computer center to process your payment amount. Target unfortunately is a victim to the hacking of a suspected 40 million credit cards giving high end Internet thieves access to bank information, reports Reuters.

‘Most of these attacks are just a cost of doing business," said Mark Rasch, a former U.S. cybercrimes prosecutor. "But an attack that's targeted against a major retailer during the peak of the Christmas season is much more than that because it undermines confidence.’

The sophisticated hack reportedly took place over several weeks which began on Black Friday and possibly extending all the way through December 15th and is said to involve ‘nearly all’ Target stores in the United States.

Krebs Security says the breach ‘involves the theft of data stored on the magnetic stripe of cards used at the stores.’ Online orders are said to be unaffected.

The type of data stolen is known as ‘track data’ which allows crooks to create counterfeit cards by encoding the information onto any card with a magnetic stripe. If the thieves also were able to intercept PIN data for debit transactions, they would theoretically be able to reproduce stolen debit cards and use them to withdraw cash from ATMs.

The online shoppers are removed from this type of theft. Krebs on Security, a closely watched security industry blog that broke the news on Wednesday, said the breach involved nearly all of Target's 1,797 stores in the United States.

It is not yet clear how the attackers were able to compromise point-of-sales terminals at so many Target stores, according to Molly Snyder, a spokesperson for Target. She added: 'It is very clear it is a sophisticated crime.'

The U.S. Secret Service is working on the investigation, according to an agency spokeswoman. A Federal Bureau of Investigation spokeswoman declined to comment.

A rather strange occurrence is that the U.S. which used chip technology first is the last to use it for embedding into credit/debit cards.

As a countermeasure to thwart fraud, EMV technology was a joint effort of Europay, MasterCard, and Visa. It was concocted in the 90’s and rolled out during the 00’s in almost every country except the USA!

But the good news is that’s about to change. Credit cards with chips are finally making their way to the US market as embedded credit/debit cards . These cards will make their way into the US in 2014 along with a terminal which will accommodate the insertion of a card with a chip.

This will slow down Internet hackers until they find another scam. Microsoft now has a Cybercrime center at its Washington facility and is working with the FBI on Internet theft issues. To find out more about Cybercrime and prevention you can read the articles listed at the bottom of this review article or contact me at my information site listed next to this article.


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