Retailers Keep Quiet on Security After Multiple Breaches

Recently, there may have been attacks on a number of major outlet stores. In October, Staples computer systems were compromised in an intrusion involving customers’ credit- and debit-card information. Last year, a Russian teen was responsible for the malicious program that allowed for the credit and debit card information of as many as 40 million customers was compromised — one of the largest breaches ever of American consumer data. As if the credit card breach at Home Depot didn’t already look enough like the Target breach: This month, Home Depot reported that 56 million customer credit and debit card accounts also made off with 53 million customer email addresses. With the many recent breaches of these outlets systems many consumers have started to be more weary on how they spend their money. There have been very small progress on increased security of outlets systems.

The Secrecy

Retailers make tiny margins. They don’t want to spend on IT support and increased security software. When credit card data is stolen, major retailers don’t pay even if the retailers’ lax network security is at fault. Financial institutions such as Banks typically pick up the bill.

It’s not clear if or when that’ll change. NPR contacted 24 of America’s largest retailers including Sears, Kohl’s, Best Buy, Dollar General, the TJ Maxx company. None of them would indicate whether their budget for online security has increased in this last year of mega-breaches.

The only way companies will be able to stop such attacks from harming customers, security experts say, is to move quickly to the new chip-based payment standard known as E.M.V., short for Europay, MasterCard and Visa, the technology’s first backers. The technology makes it harder for criminals to use stolen account information to make purchases or create counterfeit cards. Visa and MasterCard are nudging retailers to take on a bit more liability. In October 2015, merchants who don’t have the more up-to-date EMV chip card readers,  have to pay for certain credit and debit card theft in stores. Merchants have been slow to adopt the standard because it requires that they write thousands of lines of new software code and deploy it on thousands of PIN pads in their stores.

Some companies, like Walmart, have been quick to adopt the standard before the October 2015 deadline pushed by payment companies. Many Others were unhurried to adopt the standard until the Target breach last year.

Who does this affect?

The Secret Service estimated this summer that 1,000 American merchants had been affected by this kind of attack, and that many of them might not even know that they were breached, particularly because the so-called malware the criminals used was specifically created to evade standard antivirus defenses. There have been no arrests.

As the holiday buying season approaches, retailers remain open to the same attack — called a “point of sale” attack — that hit Target and Home Depot, security experts say. Those analysts say that retailers have their fingers crossed, hoping they’re not next.  Many people have even started turning away from the world of plastic and using old-school money a lot more.

In conclusion, doing nothing is making the situation worse and is not good for the economy as a whole. There should be tighter regulation on this placing an emphasis on liability and responsibility on retailers, especially major retailers like Target and Home Depot to keep security measures up to date and as advanced as possible or a fine should be given. Although as of right not, not many people are restraining from using their credit cards more breaches could mean a loss in consumer confidence which can lower consumer come out and sales. Everything in this industry revolves around money.

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