01Mar, 2016

PII & Credit Card Data Scanning

How does a credit card data breach occur and who is affected?



It is a part of any organisation’s reality nowadays that they could be vulnerable at any time to a credit card breach and the roll-on effects whether they be financial, operational or on their brand’s reputation are often far greater than they ever imagined.

Unfortunately, there are still companies out there, small and large, who think that they will be untouched by hackers thinking they have sufficient data security systems in place to not worry about credit card information being stolen. Sadly they often need a bit of a reality check.

Large-scale credit card data breaches are now the fodder for mainstream media where serious incidents are now discussed and analysed in great detail: how did it happen, what went wrong, how much did it cost the company and what business lessons can be learnt from what occurred? It makes for compelling reading, and it’s no secret that every company needs to constantly keep one step ahead of cyber criminals and internal threats because the perpetrators are already working on their next big break-in…

In the US, one of the country’s most significant retail credit card breaches took place leading up to Thanksgiving in 2013. As Bloomberg later reported, “The biggest retail hack in US history wasn’t particularly inventive, nor did it appear destined for success… Someone installed malware in Target’s security and payments system designed to steal every credit card user at the company’s 1797 stores.

“When the gifts had been scanned and bagged and the cashier asked for a swipe – the malware would step in, capture the shopper’s credit card number, and store on a Target server commandeered by the hackers.”

Unfortunately, the sizeable retailer did have very sophisticated data breach security systems in place but communication between its Bangalore-based operations and head office in the US broke down and other events involving human error took place…. And 40 million credit card numbers and other pieces of personal information were swooped out of Target’s mainframes. Since then, experts have estimated it has cost Target billions of dollars in lawsuits, and perhaps more importantly, lost trust by customers with the stores’ credit card turnover suffering its biggest fall since 2008.

While the credit card data breach incident obviously has many ramifications, it does serve as a valuable lesson on what not to do, and how Australian companies can learn from it. How confident are you that the technology you have in place to protect your credit card data will keep you safe from hackers?

To find out how IP Solutions can help you with the latest technologies to protect your credit card and other data, book in a demonstration here.  Or Download your free copy of “Protecting your business from cyber-attacks using credit card scanning.”

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