Cyber criminals and data hackers are constantly finding new ways to defeat retailers’ data security and fraud prevention systems. Sometimes these criminals come in a swipe thousands of dollars at once, or just a few dollars. Regardless of the amount stolen, the fact is that it should not happen. However, there are new technologies on the horizon to help stop these cyber thefts.
Fraudulent transactions are not the only threats posed by criminals to retailers. Part of what makes retailers highly attractive targets to criminals is the amount of credit card account data running through their systems. Many cyber criminals are skilled in intercepting that data as it travels through the merchant’s system to its processor and back. Once the data is breached, it can be resold to fraudulent rings and websites. This is what happened with the Target data breach back in December 2013. Information was available to purchase online from various websites that sell stolen credit card and personal information.
While troubling, this is not the only way that cyber thieves steal information. Merchants that have developed shopping applications with one-click checkout, such as Amazon.com, have inadvertently created a weak spot criminals can exploit with malware. While a one-click checkout is fast for loyal shoppers in a hurry, the fact that the information is easily stored is one of the things that cyber hackers look for. One solution to this problem is to require mobile users to sign in to the retailer’s app before it launches. It may seem like a hassle to consumers, but this method helps deter malware and cyber hackings.
Given the ongoing evolution of fraud and data security threats, retailers can never rest on their laurels when it comes to safeguarding their web sites. Indeed, the threat of online fraud in the United States will only worsen in the next few years as Visa and MasterCard issuers roll out mandated chip and PIN cards. Those chip cards use a standard called EMV, which has become shorthand for the move to the more secure credit and debit card technology. These cards are the norm in Europe, and are virtually hacker-proof. However, like all technological advances, hackers learn new ways to advance their work.
Cyber criminals and hacker are perceptive. They know the ways consumers shop, and it makes it easier for them to hack accounts. The Target data theft, for instance, showed that even foreign hackers knew the businesses US shopping season. However, as terrible as this seems, there are rather simple ways that retailers can limit the ease hackers can have. In addition, the upcoming chip and PIN cards are sure to limit damage, as well. Regardless, all consumers and vendors must be cautious when dealing with credit card transactions.