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According to Nets, a Danish payment processor, as many as 100,000 credit cards may have been hacked. The firm stated that the security breach might have been associated with transactions made with a single internet retailer, which is based abroad. While none of the cards in question experienced any tampering, there are still concerns that problems could arise in the future.
Credit card companies MasterCard and Visa have both opened investigations. Nets advised the replacement of the potentially compromised credit cards, which could save banks and stores a significant amount of money resulting from transactions made using the stolen credit card information.
In the past, when someone stole a credit card, he or she would lift the physical card and usually have only enough time to buy a few high-value items that could be easily resold before the card was canceled.
While this was certainly a huge hassle for the cardholder and the bank, it was a relatively small crime. In recent years, however, cybercriminals have dramatically changed the landscape of credit card theft. Store-based retailers, in particular, have proven to be highly susceptible to hackers, who have stolen lists containing millions of credit card numbers.
As the number of hacking incidents increases, it has become abundantly clear that it’s far too easy for cybercriminals to steal credit card information, despite attempts that have been made to make confidential information more secure.
According to a Gallup poll, 27 percent of respondents reported their credit card information was hacked in the last year. The thefts occurred despite the use of chip-enabled cards. Such an increase in credit card hacking has occurred at a time when both MasterCard and Visa have taken aggressive steps to protect consumer information from hackers, including making the move to replacing magnetic-stripe cards with chip-enabled cards. Both Visa and MasterCard have more than doubled their chip-enabled credit cards over the last year.
Concerns regarding hacking attempts have resulted in retailers around the world making the transition to machines capable of accepting chip-enabled credit cards. The pressure on businesses to make the transition increased significantly last year after some merchants were found liable for fraudulent purchases made using counterfeit cards because they did not have chip-reading terminals.
How to Get Through a Credit Card Hack
Despite the move by both credit card companies and retailers, the fears of consumers have hardly been eased. While there is not much consumers can do to protect their credit card information from being stolen, there are some steps you can take to minimize losses should they occur.
Always save your receipts to compare them with your credit card statements when they arrive in the mail. Open your bills immediately or check them online frequently so you can reconcile your statements with the purchases you have made. If you notice any questionable charges on your statement, report them immediately to your credit card issuer.
It’s also a good idea to avoid storing credit card information in your retail accounts online, a practice that many consumers fall into as a matter of convenience. Also, make sure your smartphone has a complex passcode that would difficult to decipher and limit the amount of information you share on social media that could be used to put together a password or answer security questions for your bank account.
The Payment Card Industry Digital Security Standard (PCI DSS) is a standard to which any organization that handles debit and credit cards from major companies, including American Express, MasterCard, and Visa, are held accountable.
Any organization that accepts payments from, stores, or processes credit or debit card information is obligated to meet the security standard set out by PCI DSS. Those organizations that fail to meet the standard may be excluded from receiving payments and face hefty fines if they lose credit card numbers or have credit card numbers stolen from them.
The standard was released in 2004, and since that time has undergone only two major revisions: once in 2010 and once in 2013. A new version of the standard is expected to be released in early 2017. Numerous small revisions, known as sub-releases, have been made over the years, however.
Those include a recent revision that contains numerous minor changes, which organizations were required to implement prior to Oct. 31. Those changes are believed to be a direct result of the lessons learned from the massive hacking incidents that took place in the United States involving such retailers as Home Depot and Target.
Author: Jeff Gitlen
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