If you shopped at Target between November 27 and December 15, you could bit in for a bit of a shock: Target has confirmed that not only were credit card and debit card numbers hacked and stolen, but so were the PIN numbers as well. Although Target spokespeople say that the data is encrypted and that it’s not a risk, security experts know otherwise. Encryption is not “unbreakable” and merely buys you time – not 100% security.
This is quickly becoming a major story as reports confirm that two banks (including Chase) have diminished the amount that customers can withdraw from their accounts, pointing to the fact that stolen data may have already been compromised and exposed.
On the very interesting security blog KrebsOnSecurity, it’s noted that it seems to be a Russian nicknamed “Helkern” who is selling the card data on Rescator, a carding forum site.
Cyber crime seems to be ramping up these days, as I have personally been victim to more hacking this year than all other years combined. I even had a random credit card number stolen – and I hadn’t even used the card yet! It was brand new.Â Amazing.
What can you do to protect yourself from these cyber crimes? Well, one thing is for sure – you MUST protect your computer with antispyware and antimalware software. I personally use Norton 360, and I supplement with Spyhunter 4, a great antimalware software tool.
Keep an eye on credit card and bank statements. I personally use my AMEX card for most transactions when I can, as their fraud protection is the best, and dealing with them on the phone is never a problem and always easy.
Shred all mail that has compromising data, including credit card offers. SHRED THEM. Even if you have to keep a pile for a year and shred it once a year, do not just throw them out. Anyone can grab it and steal your identity as is what happened a week ago to a friend of mine.