Target stores get hit with credit card breach – data stolen on thousands of cards.

December 20, 2013

By Staff.

BURLINGTON, ON.  You will have heard about the 40 million credit and debit cards that were stolen from Target store computers.  That theft is going to do as yet untold damage to the Target corporation.

And it is likely to impact a lot of individuals.  There are several ways you can protect yourself.

This type of card is dangerous.  The data on the magnetic strip is easily stole.

First – never use your debit or credit card on a machine that swipes the magnetic stripe on the back of the card.  If the device at the place you are doing a transaction does not have a pin feature – that’s where you push the card into the device – don’t use it and tell the operator of the location that you will not use the level of technology.

High school students now know how to steal the data from your card on machines that rely on the magnetic stripe.  It is very unsafe.

The second thing you can do is get a credit card that has a predetermined limit.  Something in the $500 range and use that for your on line purchases.  There are a number of organizations that offer these cards – Home Trust in Canada has this kind of card.  While it is called a credit card – it is really a Visa card that you load your money on.  Because it has a small limit – your full line of credit on another card is not exposed.

The data on this type of card is within that gold square – very hard to breach that kind of technology.

When Target announced the computer breach they advised that thieves had accessed data stored on the magnetic stripe on the back of credit and debit cards during the Black Friday weekend through card swiping machines that could have been tampered with at the retailer’s stores, a practice known as card skimming.

The data could have been used to create counterfeit cards that could even be used to withdraw money at an ATM, according to the reports.

Target said it “is working closely with law enforcement and financial institutions, and has identified and resolved the issue.” It also said it was working with an outside forensics firm. 

The data that was stolen was sold within hours of its theft and was being used the next day.

Security news writer Brian Krebs reported Wednesday that it was first thought that the breach extended from just after Thanksgiving 2013 to Dec. 6. But investigators found evidence that the breach may have lasted up to Dec. 15, which has now been confirmed by Target.

The Target store computers were the target for data thieves.  Someone took a big bite out of them.

Millions of cardholder accounts may have been vulnerable after the breach that is believed to have affected about 40,000 card machines at store registers, The Wall Street Journal said, quoting people familiar with the situation. Sources at two of the top 10 card issuers told Krebs that the breach had affected nearly all Target locations in the U.S.  They make no direct mention of Canadian locations – we have two of them in Burlington.

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