Target hackers succeeded last week in potentially obtaining the names, credit card details, security codes, and passwords of more than 40 million Target customers.
The Inquisitr reported earlier today on the situation as Target CEO Gregg Steinhafel tried to placate Target customers and allay fears:
The recent Target security breach which affected more than 40 million credit and debit cards accounts may have been a cloud, but it did have a silver lining. The company announced that following the breach they would be offering a free credit report and a ten percent discount by way of an apology to its “guests”.
Steinhafel, on behalf of Target corp., tried to wipe the proverbial egg of the companies’ face by offering the incentive to the targeted customers. He said in a statement:
Yesterday we shared that there was unauthorized access to payment card data at our U.S. stores. The issue has been identified and eliminated. We recognize this has been confusing and disruptive during an already busy holiday season. Our guests’ trust is our top priority at Target and we are committed to making this right.
But the problem is much deeper and more serious than the 40 million Target customers who were exposed to the possibility of fraud. Indeed the real problem rests with the antiquated credit card system operated in the U.S.
In fact, American cards are the easiest to clone as they rely on the magnetic strip on the back of the card for all the information they retain. This kind of technology equates to a cassette tape and is unlike the “chip and pin” system used in most European countries.
With “chip and pin,” each credit card contains a digital chip to gather information. The card then generate a unique code for each transaction making them difficult, if not impossible to clone.
Added to that is a simple four-digit pin number which is requested at the point of sale for each and every transaction, making it almost totally secure from most types of theft.
As Jason Oxman, the chief exec of the Electronic Transactions Association said: “The U.S. is the top victim location for card counterfeit attacks like this.”
It is clear that North America needs to adopt the European model when it comes to credit and debit cards. It is hoped by many that introducing such measures would stop people like the target hackers from defrauding innocent store card owners.