In today’s business world, hackers have become a major concern for many merchants large and small. Recently, Target found out that being a large corporation didn’t prevent hackers from successfully targeting and compromising their payment processing network.
Target recently announced that between November 27 and December 15 a major data breach occurred potentially affecting 40 million credit and debit accounts. It is suspected that the followinginformation may have been obtained from this data breach:
- Customer name
- Credit and debit card numbers
- Expiration date
- Three-digit security codes
This data breach only affected in-store and not online purchases as it is believed the point of compromise occurred through software installed on Point of Sale (POS) terminals via the magnetic card readers. It is believed that Target is urging consumers to remain vigilant and to report any unusual credit or debit card activity to the authorities.
So what does this mean to the typical merchant? Some takeaways are:
- Select a merchant services provider with a reputation for preventing data breaches for large and small merchants.
- Make sure your business becomes and stays PCI compliant to minimize the possibility of a data breach occurring.
- If a data breach does occur, quickly announce it and what steps your business is taking. Trying to hide a data breach will only create a major PR nightmare for your business. Cooperating with authorities is paramount to identifying the source of the data breach.
However, although all processors must maintain compliance, most don’t require or provide these same tools to their merchants. Many companies simply charge the merchant a PCI compliance fee without providing anything of value to the merchant. The Datalink PCIU certification program is a very unique and robust interactive program designed for the merchant that helps the merchant ensure their compliance. This is just one of many ways that Datalink differentiates itself from the competition.
No business wants to suffer a data breach. Regardless of size, Target found out that they were not immune to a data breach exposing their customers’ financial data.