– Days after cyber criminals put a bullseye on Target, customers found forgiveness. Over the weekend, crowds took advantage of the 10 percent apology discount offered over the weekend.
“This is a bummer it happened to Target but it could have happened anywhere,” said Kate Pappas, a Minneapolis resident who is among the 40 million customers with credit information possibly exposed.
But, she’s been targeted before. So has her father.
“We have been frauded a lot just on our credit cards, we shop online a lot, use them a lot, had to use a new card many times,” said Don Pappas, of Mantorville.
University of Minnesota professor Massoud Amin helps run a master’s program in security technology at the U’s Technological Leadership Institute. As a national expert on cyber and infrastructure security, he calls this latest vulnerability the tip of the iceberg.
“We are using 20th century mindset to cope with or respond to 21st century threats,” said Amin.
Target’s security breach is estimated to be the second largest in history, besides the 2005 case involving retailer TJX. Amin believes America’s top companies need to invest in technology already available in other countries. In the U.S., a majority of account information is stored within the magnetic strip on the back of the card and can be easily copied. In many other countries overseas, cards contain digital chips that create a code not easily replicated.
Amin says customers should demand these sophisticated safeguards, what he sees as cost effective defense when compared to potentially catastrophic loss.
“Ask for more advanced credit cards that have more advanced chips and security measures, magnetic strips can be augmented with holograms,” said Amin. “By 2015, credit card companies are going to introduce a magnetic strip with a chip incorporated in it.”
He recommends consumers are vigilant about encryption on servers and routers and use protection like passwords for mobile devices which “can alleviate over 90 percent of security holes with cyber security protection.”
Amin says cyber crime causes a customer loss of 5.2 cents per $100 dollars transaction per year in the world, a loss that adds up to billions worldwide and will grow unless proactive security measures are taken.
“Almost like a game of chess. You don’t look at the game that has played so far, but you look ahead how can we win this game?” he said.
Customers hope for a better strategy, with this latest breach showing hackers haven’t yet met their match.Minneapolis shopper Marquis Peterson had advice for Target after leaving the downtown store.
“Step up on your IT game because the hackers are going to be out there no matter what,” said Peterson.
Three class-action lawsuits have been filed in the wake of the thefts with more than $5 million in damages sought. Two lawsuits were filed in California and one in Oregon.
The Attorney General in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York and South Dakota has asked Target for information about the breach.
CEO Gregg Steinhafel said the company would provide free credit monitoring to at-risk customers. Target is directing customers to its website and a toll-free phone number for more information about the breach.