How did that huge recent data breach of a major retailer occur in the first place? Well, valuables can’t be stolen if there aren’t any valuables to begin with. Large merchants will store customers’ credit/debit card data to facilitate faster transactions. But small retailers keep minimal or zero data—this will not attract thieves.
If customers want increased security of their card data, they’re going to have to give up the speedy transactions and automatic debits, because currently, they can’t have it both ways.
A smaller outfit may keep only the last four numbers of a credit card on file; no SSN or anything else. This isn’t much for thieves to work with. Yet at the same time, every time a customer makes a purchase, they must give all the required information.
Some small retailers are completely technology-free, though this seems like an impossible undertaking in this modern e-age. For example, a small business that bills monthly for services may not honor automatic withdrawal of a member’s monthly fees. Members may pout, unaware that this inconvenience has a protective feature.
Banks also have a role in protecting customers and businesses. A good start would be to require a PIN from cardholders for every transaction.
Another maneuver would be for the U.S. to ditch the magnetic strip on cards and replace with a digital chip. This would prevent thieves from stealing data off the strip. Thanks to the magnetic strip, America is the hacking capital of the world.
- Hardware: firewall security appliances and routers.
- Software: Think anti: virus, spyware, phishing. Also think full disk encryption and total protection suites.
- E-mail security: It must be hammered into employees NEVER to click on any link in an e-mail from an unfamiliar sender.
- Physical security: The building should be equipped with video surveillance (outside and indoors), alarm systems and solid core doors of commercial grade.
- The test: Find someone, known as a “penetration tester” who knows all about hacking, but whom you can trust, to “hack” your network to see what needs to be done to protect it from a real villain.
Robert Siciliano is an Identity Theft Expert to AllClearID. He is the author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Identity Was Stolen See him knock’em dead in this identity theft prevention video. Disclosures.