Friday, January 2, 2015

Enough with the parties. It is time to settle into the New Year and with that look over your taxes and most importantly, look at the shape of your bank accounts and credit cards. Nothing is safe these days and companies are so busy protecting themselves that no one is protecting you against theft.  In fact, stolen credit cards are big nosiness on the internet. You should have been worrying this holiday season that every time you swiped your credit card or debit card that some criminal could be stealing your account number. The number of illegal intrusions in the computer systems of United States companies is at a record high this year and climbing, the hacking of Target, Home Depot, Staples and other retailors made headlines.
There are two separate crimes going on at the same time with two sets of criminals. There are the sophisticated cyber thieves stealing your credit card information and then there are the common criminals  that  buy it and go on shopping sprees creating billions of dollars in fraudulent purchases. The cost of the fraud is calculated into every item you buy. When computer crooks swipe your card number, we all end up paying the price.  So does that mean we should be going back to having wads of cash around? 2014 is now known as the year of the data breach. The theft of 40 million credit cards from Target was followed by news of a breach at Michael’s, then P.F.Chang's and in September Home Depot. Nearly every company is vulnerable.

FireEye is a cyber  security company that gets hired to keep hackers from getting into a companies network or getting them out after there has been a breach. They say that even the strongest banks in the world like JP Morgan can’t spend enough money or hire enough employees to keep up with the theft. So in essence THERE IS NO SECURITY!  97% of all companies are getting breached.

The attacks go on 24 hours a day and is a global problem. Who is protecting you? No one! The companies are lucky enough to be able to protect themselves a little bit. On average from the time the bad guys get in to the time they are discovered is a whopping 229 days. They can steal a lot of stuff in that time period.  80% of the breaches involve weak passwords. It means that breaches are inevitable. The bad guys install malware to record swipes from cash registers. A lot of companies still have older systems and the alerts that are given are not the important ones. Thankfully newer systems are more accurate and are helping the problem but they are blocks behind in the race to your money.
Bottom line a retailer is looking to protect their side of the cash before they look to help you protect your money. The Internet is the source for criminals. Rescator. Com is a place where you can buy stolen credit cards. Big batches of stolen credit cards are called Dumps. The bulk of cards sell from anywhere from 10 to $50 dollars depending on the expiration date or the credit limit to determine how valuable your credit card is. Maybe we should be glad that our cred stinks and that we are no longer available for new cards. This site even offers volume sales and refunds if the cards have been cancelled. Now that is a real organized very out there group of thieves. They say, this stolen card will work or your money back.

The thieves do not accept credit cards. They want to be paid for their stolen cards by Western Union or Money Gram. The hackers and owners of this site are big time crime networks located in Russia or the Ukraine out of the reach of American law enforcement. Our Secret Service is in charge of dealing with this problem. Buyers of the cards are from all over the world. They buy gift cards which is like cash then buy electronics with the gift cards then sell the products. The banks don’t even know there is a problem until after the crime has been committed. Visa, MasterCard and other companies notify a bank when the card has been hacked but they don’t tell them from what store. I think this is wrong and everyone should be working together to stop this problem. Certain things should be regulated on the Internet especially when it involves the thievery of so much money to so many people.

The magnetic strip on your card is too easy to counterfeit.  After a year of so much fraud new cards will be issued that will have a computer chip in it that will make creating counterfeit cards almost impossible. Google and Apple are promoting their own payment systems to protect themselves. Retailers are now encrypting the data but all the new protections will take time and we hope we can be ahead of the bad guys. 

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