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In Light of Major Retail Hacks, Protect Your Credit Card Numbers

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The Target data breach seems but a distant memory now, yet the same malware strikes again, this time at Home Depot. The hacking attack targeted the millions of credit and debit cards used at these large retailers, but these attacks could have been mitigated with proper precaution.

Small businesses are just as much at risk by these threats as any individual. It lies in how carelessly the average individual uses their credit or debit card. Whoever is handling your business’s money needs to be aware of the security problems that it could potentially pose to your assets. A hacking attack could place unprecedented restrictions on your budget, which is the last thing your business wants to deal with.

Prepaid Credit Cards Can Be Useful
Remember those prepaid gift cards you get for your estranged family members on the holidays? You can learn a lesson from them. As it turns out, many of these are similar to prepaid credit cards, which allow you to put money on them and then spend away. These cards are still linked to your bank account, but they obscure the card number, allowing you to keep your real card number a secret from hackers. Even if the number gets stolen, it can easily be cancelled and replaced with another card. Sure, constantly feeding money into the card from your bank account could get old, but at least you’ll have money. The consequences of having your real card number stolen could be far more catastrophic, to both your credit score and your financial existence.

These prepaid credit cards are also particularly useful for accounts which require recurring payments, such as Netflix, gym memberships, or other monthly services.

Debit Cards Can Complicate Things
According to WIRED magazine, using a debit card outside of local bank ATM can get messy if not used properly. With a credit card, you are able to dispute certain charges on your account before paying the bill, but a debit card takes funds directly from your account, making it much more difficult to prevent fraud from occurring. Even if you receive reimbursement from the fraud, it will be long after the transaction took place. In fact, a hacker could very easily steal your entire checking account balance before you know that the fraud even took place. WIRED suggests that you only use your debit cards at secure ATMs, and nothing more, as you have a lot more to lose with a debit card than with a credit card.

Ecommerce and Credit Cards
Making online purchases is a big part of today’s business world, and if you aren’t careful about how you approach it, you might walk right into a trap. A simple way to prevent this from happening is paying attention to the security certificates of ecommerce websites. You can view the security certificate of a website by looking to the left of the URL; if you see a green padlock icon, the URL is secured. If not, think twice before inputting any financial information.

One other way to keep your business’s finances secure is with a Unified Threat Management (UTM) solution from Tektonic. We can equip your business’s network with this comprehensive security solution. Included are powerful firewall and antivirus solutions, web content filtering, and spam filtering. This keeps malicious software from infiltrating your system and helps you avoid unsecured websites.

The best way to combat hacking is with vigilance, but sometimes some extra help is essential to the way you run business. Tektonic can be your eyes and ears in the battle against malware. Give us a call at (416) 256-9928 for more information.

Date: September 15th, 2014, Author: Jorge Rojas

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