Target Data Breach Strikes Fear into the Heart of Consumers

One of the things that people fear the most in modern society is a breach of their privacy. With the advent of the Internet, online technology and social media, privacy seems to have gone the way of the dodo. Consumers however, still expect a level of security and privacy protection when dealing with businesses. The rise in scope and number of data breaches in large companies has caused concern for not only consumers but businesses and governments alike. These large-scale data breaches can cause widespread fraud and identity theft and consumers are becoming more wary of credit card and debit card processing security. If your business deals with the public for payment transactions you will need to ensure top-notch security measures are in place to prevent data breaches as much as possible. 

Target’s Data Breach

News about Target’s data breach spread fast and wide as it happened during one of the busiest shopping periods; Christmas. It is estimated that over 110 million customers of target may have been affected from a recent security breach in Target’s payment processing database. The data breach happened when a number of hackers breached two different Target databases containing credit card processing payment information including credit card numbers. The attack was initiated on 29 November and continued until 15 December when it was finally discovered and shut down by Target’s security department. Target receives all the media attention for this most recent breach yet Neiman Marcus was also attacked within days of Target, and at least three other major retailers, as yet all unnamed. This attack included secondary information to credit card and debit card processing information which included personal identifiable information. These breaches are typically coordinated in order to sell the information and enable identity theft.

Protecting Yourself

In one of these massive data breaches there are certain ways that you can protect your information to prevent from becoming an identity theft victim. The key to protecting yourself from identity theft or data breaches is simply to secure your personal information. Clear your passwords and login data and Institute new passwords across your payment processing accounts. Check transaction histories for your bank accounts and credit cards to ensure suspicious activity is not taking place. Using a credit card for purchases instead of a debit card helps offer protection against unauthorized purchases. Remember to never respond to emails or phone calls that ask for personal information. Instead call your service provider directly at their number to confirm any suspicious phone calls or emails requesting such information.

Protecting Your Business

Protecting your customer’s private information should be your number one priority especially if your business deals in purchases from consumers. There are number of ways to protect your business when it comes to processing payments electronically that should be put in place in continually updated for security gaps. Great payment processing companies are the first step in securing corporate and consumer payment information. Always encrypt your customer’s information within your database, with multiple levels of password protection with password change protocols in place. Any employees that are handling customer information should have background checks run periodically as well. Malware, spyware and virus protection software suites should be run on all company devices and updated periodically.

Having a payment processing solutions provider with the latest technology and the most up-to-date security features can be one of the best defences against data breach hackers.

Written by Will Detterman. Will is the CEO/Founder of Leap Payments. Leap Payments offers honestly better credit card processing for businesses.

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